If you’ve read John’s most recent post, you know we’re the very pleased owners of new Bilenky bikes, and we’ve been logging some miles on them in preparation for plans to do the Civil War Century metric in September and the Seagull Century in October.
Acquiring a new bike has over-filled our bike storage space. Options are a) build a new shed, b) sell a bike, or build one of these:
We’re going with (b). I’m selling the Soma. It’s quite a beauty, a 42 cm Soma Buena Vista mixte. It fits me (5″1″) well. Great for local rides, road rides long and short, light touring and general fun. Here’s the Craig’s List ad. This price listed doesn’t include shipping. Contact me here or via Craig’s List. It’s going for $1200 (plus shipping) – a big savings over the cost of the build and a perfect bike for your upcoming adventures!
As we have noted here before, Nancy and I purchased new bikes from Bilenky Cycle Works back in December. We got titanium coupled travel bikes that break down to fit into a suitcase. These are both all-road bikes in that they are built like road bikes but they have fat tires (I have 42mm Hetres on my bike).
The Build (John’s Bike)
On my bike, I was aiming to go as much “Made in the USA” as I could in the build. Here is my list of USA-supplied parts:
– Paul Racer Brakes
– White Industries hubs
– Velocity rims
– SRAM Force drivetrain/shifters. Not really made in the US but of the three big choices the closest I could get.
– Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals (see above)
– Compass Cycles Hetre tires. Again not made in the US but the company is based in the US.
– Porcelain Rocket rear bag (Canada – close enough)
– Oveja Negra top tub bag
– Swift Industries front rack bag
Parts not made in the US include
– Nitto stem, handlebars (randonneur type), and seat post
– Berthoud saddle
– Brooks handlebar tape
So Tell Me About the Ride
The ride is pretty close to perfect. By that I mean, it is as perfect as I have ever ridden but hey maybe just maybe there is a more perfect I am unaware of. It is possible I suppose. The Bilenky team nailed it. I am comfortable for long stretches and a bit faster. The tires just eat up rotten pavement and I have discovered rotten pavement pretty much every ride I have lately. Whether it be Mid-Maryland, Baltimore, or upstate New York.
Daffodils are about exuberance and on a good day that’s what biking is about too. My Brompton after exuberantly taking the longer way home after a quick errand, agrees.
Yesterday, Nancy and I traveled up to Philadelphia to visit Bilenky Cycle Works. It was a very exciting day! I mean new, custom bikes. How cool is that??? The trip was pretty quick, 2+ hours up 95 and with the miracle of GPS, it was pretty straigtforward finding their shop. It is just as described, right next to a Junkyard and the ceiling and walls are covered with bikes.
We met with Steve and Tom and discussed what we were looking for and got measured. This was a funny mixture of Grant Peterson measurements and a fancy Calfee machine to set up and get the ‘perfect’ fit for you where all variable can be changed. It was very informative and I could not say enough positive things about the experience. Both Steve and Tom were great to work with through this process.
My bike needs are weird in that I need a 50cm seat tube coupled with a 55cm top tube. I have requested a Ti bike but I would like to handle larger tires so I am getting a steel fork so that I can handle up to 42mm tires like the Grand Bois Hetre. We are awaiting final pricing on parts and then the wait begins.
b. Esthetically appealing
c. Elegant machines
e. All of the Above
This video shows why e. is the correct answer!
Evolution of the Bicycle from Visual Artwork on Vimeo.
Read more at Treehugger.
With snow, ice, and below zero wind chills, I at least have been deterred from riding. I’ve seen some hardy souls out there on two wheels and I salute them.
In the meantime, I’m sharing this Bicycling Magazine video featuring Bilenky Bicycle Works. Enjoy!
Bicycling Magazine: Bilenky Cycle Works from Andrew David Watson on Vimeo.
As noted here, Nancy and I rode the Seagull Century the first weekend in October. Since that day, I have ridden a grand total of twice. Both were short rides of under 20 miles. This has been a combination of work being crazy busy making bike commuting problematic, the change in seasons and times, and me just needing a break. I have ridden 2,051 miles this year so far and still have a faint hope of reaching 2,500 this year. October was beautiful but I chose to do yard work or interior work rather than ride. I just needed a break.
This weekend, Nancy and I went to Philadelphia to the Philly Bike Expo hosted by Bilenky. The expo is great. Small enough that it is pretty intimate but big enough that you get to check out some builders without being swarmed by hundreds of other bike geeks. It was in the convention center this year and it was a markedly better building but I missed some of the vendors from last year. Both Swift Industries and North Street bags were absent this year (Hurricaine Sandy might have had an adverse reaction to east coast events). In fact, there were hardly any bag manufacturers. There was a small booth of ReLoad bags but nothing much.
We talked with the great folks at Bilenky and saw the very cool Tour d’Africa bike. We chatted for a good ten minutes with Bryan from Royal H Cyles. He is a great guy and they were added to the list of possible builders for the possible next bike. I had heard of him via Lovely Bicycle. He had a beautiful frame there and two old biycles that he has rehabbed and they were both amazing. I got a reversible wool hat from Fifo and an Abus lock from Firth and Wilson Tranportation Bike shop. I am very excited to try out the hat this coming weekend (or maybe this week if work co-operates). Nancy scored a lovely plaid cape from Cleverhood.
I also got a great vest from a Blue Claw pop-up and we went to Elixr coffee twice. Restaurant experiences ranged from great beer, wings, and conversation with friends of Nancy’s from Philly at the Devils Alley to pretty ordinary Chinese food. We did hit the sublime Hop Sing Laundramat. This could very well be the greatest bar on the east coast. I had two spectacular bourbon drinks: the Captain Kirk with a maple licquer and the classic Old Fashioned.