Filed In: Process
October 11, 2019 | Chris Blandford
I learned last week that UBI’s Portland campus is shutting down. That’s a shame; I enjoyed my time there more than just about any two week stretch I’ve had in recent memory. My family and I live in Portland in small part because of the experiences I had while attending UBI. My interest in building a bicycle led me to that school. Spending two weeks surrounded by Portland bike nerds made me realize that I wanted to be one, too. And so here I am. The news is unfortunate, but not all that surprising. Even a couple of years ago, I figured it might be time.
I’ve read it written--more and more, in fact--that the handmade niche of the bicycle industry is dying. I certainly can’t argue with that. Even in my short time of paying attention to such things, I’ve noticed waning interest. “Framebuilding”--as it’s called, I guess--isn’t what it used to be. Not compared to thirty years ago; not compared to ten years ago. What was once a 70’s-era trade became a 2000’s-era craft and has now been relegated to 2020’s-era… something else. If I was, or had goals to be, a professional custom bicycle builder, I’d be worried--wondering what the future held. Thankfully I’m not, and I don’t, so I needn’t be.