Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's in a name?

After reading this intereting post at CyclingWMD, I was anxious to learn about the history of my Gayas pursuit frame. I started by emailing the guy I bought it from, Sung at keepwheelreal, and got a bunch of great leads.

The frame was handmade in DaeGu Korea by SK, formerly named SunKyung, which is now one of the biggest mobile service and oil companies in Korea today. In the midst of the Korean Currency Crisis, SunKyung sold off part of their bicycle business and stopped making Gayas frames in the late 90's.

The name, "Gayas" is derived from the Gaya confederacy (42 CE - 562 CE). With the help of Google Maps I discovered that the city of DaeGu (where the frame was built) resides where parts of the Gaya confederacy once was. In DaeGu, you'll find the Gayasan National Park as well as many other ties to the 12 ancient polities that comprised the Gaya confederacy. These tribes were pioneers of the iron age. Wikipedia states, "The technology of Gaya was much more advanced than that of the Japanese dynasties of the time," and that "archaeological evidence suggests that Gaya polities were the main exporter of technology and culture to Kyushu at that time".

Researching and learning about all of the aforementioned was a lot of fun. Anyone that's into track racing will tell you that frame building is an art form, and that the builders, are held in high regard. Just look at the hype around Japanese NJS track goods. I think it's sooo cool that the Korean frame builders of DaeGu paid homage to their technologically advanced ancestors by incorporating that history into the name of this frame. And what's even cooler, is how the internet makes it possible for anyone to learn about anything, including these gems of Korean history and culture. I knew the intricacies and geometry of my pursuit bike were unique, but I didn't realize it was forged from descendants of the pioneers of the iron age! I'm not worthy!

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