Richard Sachs

Bicycle Builder / United States / Richard Sachs Cycles

Richard Sachs’s Book List

These are my books. I’ve had some for a very long time; others are recent acquisitions. Quite a few were gifted to me by their authors. I don’t really have any particular favorites from the pile, but the books about D’Aquisto and Nakashima are the ones I've turned to more often, and over a longer time, than any of the others.

The thread that runs through most of the books shown here is one of focus. They’re about someone, or a staff of someones, or a family business with a long line of someones, all paying attention to detail. All the someones have their heads down trying to understand and tame the material, while simultaneously have their heads up thinking about ways to drive their past into a future. Many of the items written about here may seem like vestiges from another era, but I view them more as designs, crafted goods, and business models that are timeless. In the case of the titles that are not about making things, the same is true—the stories and their authors are beautiful to me.

I haven’t read any of the books on my list. But I have opened them hundreds, maybe thousands of times looking for inspiration or an answer. Each is like a friend, or a therapist, or even just good medicine that I turned to when I needed direction. And I think that fact is reflected in the work I do at my bench. It’s been said that I have built the same bicycle for decades, inferring that I am stuck in time. I don’t think I have ever built the same bicycle twice. I am not sure I’d ever want to build the same bicycle twice.

The pages in these books have been my safe haven. With an attention span that measures on the far left hand side of the meter, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the tools to read (read, as in finish) any of them. I’d love to know what I am missing. In the meantime, I’ll take my small doses since they have served me well. And every time I come back for visit, the results are different. No two alike.

7 books
William Henry Hill et al.

I haven’t read this book end to end, but have opened it and read pages, and looked at illustrations, and then closed it. The point? My spirit and enthusiasm are always renewed when I take note of the lives of craftsmen who have made a mark on their trade. There’s no doubt Strads have a following, whether real or assigned to them through the years by zealots.

Kenneth Vose

I bought this book as an extension of my interest in handmade things, fine guitars among them. Scott Chinery commissioned a handful of luthiers to make their own version of a D’Aquisto guitar that Jimmy made for him (Scott) years earlier. The book is a bit too commercial for me. I wanted to know more about the makers, and their thoughts, rather than about the man paying them for the work.

Geoffrey Boothroyd
Susan Boothroyd

I went through a long period during which I saw analogies between the bespoke shotgun trade and the one I am part of—making racing bicycles by hand. I liked this book for the history it lays out for the reader, but it was a bit too general for me. The book about James Purdey & Sons (see Purdey’s) is the better of the two, in my opinion.

Suze Rotolo

I was a few years too late to be part of the early Dylan era but have made up for it ever since. He may have taken many cues from folks who preceded him, but the man/artist certainly rearranged it all on his own terms. I respect that.

Douglas Brooks

A gift from the author, who is a friend as well as longtime client. I also idolize Douglas as a person, a scholar, and a mentor.

Bill Strickland

A gift from the author. Bill chronicles a season on a bicycle, the racing he does, and how so much of it mirrors the lives we lead.

Ben Hewitt

Ben is a journalist who has written about me and my business several times over the years. This book reminds us that everything (towns, too) gets a second chance.

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