If you’ve been following Cycle EXIF for a while — especially around the NAHBS time of year — you’ll be familiar with the work of Paul Brodie. His newly-released autobiography provides an insight into both his engineering and thought processes.
Paul’s one of the original frame builders who kicked off mountain biking in Canada. He’s also somewhat of a genius fabricator and over the years he’s relayed to the readers of Cycle EXIF a step-by-step commentary into bikes that he’s created for various NAHBS.
Over the past few years, Paul has been compiling his creative process into an autobiographical account of his life, and the finished product has been documented as a new book: Paul Brodie — The Man Behind Brodie Bikes.
It’s a riveting read for any cyclist, but especially mountainbikers both old and young. Anyone who appreciates shop craft will get a kick out of it too, and so will frame builders — indeed, anyone who has built a frame, professionally or otherwise.
Paul relates a detailed history of the early Canadian MTB scene and how the industry boomed and withdrew, taking along everyone involved for a bumpy ride — with no suspension to soften the market forces.
Interspersed throughout the book are Paul’s personal insights into working with metal, from Setting Up Shop to The Art Of Brazing. It is invaluable reading for those wanting to make a bicycle frame; words of wisdom from a true entrepreneur and visionary.
If you remember the Whippet or the Starley Giraffe that Paul recreated for the NAHBS shows, and the step-by-step stories that he related to us, you’ll have gained an insight into the ability of Paul’s mind to machine a piece of raw metal into a rideable bicycle.
It isn’t all about bicycles, though. Before Brodie Bikes was established, Paul had — and still does have — a great passion for motorcycles. Also described in the book is his love for recreating obscure and rare models.
Paul’s restoration of a 1957 Chimera 175cc was exhibited at the Las Vegas Guggenheim, and replicas of other models have been sold to collectors all over the world. One thing that’s revealed through the book is just how multi-layered Paul Brodie is.
If you have any interest in frame building, or you’re a fan of classic cycling, old school MTB culture, custom and handmade bikes or just like reading about them, I can assure you Paul Brodie’s autobiography is going to be one of the best books you’ll read all year.