Sunday, March 8, 2015

Iowa Bike Expo: Local Customs

One of the features of this year's Iowa Bike Expo was the Teesdale Handbuilt Bike Awards, named in honor of late Iowa framebuilding legend Tom Teesdale. While I didn't cast a ballot in the People's Choice competition (something about maintaining journalistic integrity or whatnot), I did grab a few photos of custom bikes that caught my eye.

Ames builder Jeffrey Bock brought this jaw-dropper of a touring/randonneur ride. As if the lugs and pinstripes on the frame weren't enough, soak in the matching stripes on the fenders. Classy.


The Bock booth also featured this classic-looking townie with custom racks. Again with the fender stripes!

At the risk of offering too much Bock (and being told to get the Bock outta here), the front view of this obviously well-used and loved Bock machine really appeals to me. Something about the big bag, big tire, and big honkin' headlight has a classic motorcycle aesthetic I dig. Remember when Salsa Cycles was one guy and their "If it ain't moto, it's worthless." slogan hadn't been co-opted yet? That's what this shot is to me: Moto, in the original sense.

I thought about putting this Ventus in my gravel bike post, but it's pretty enough to hang with the custom peloton instead. Lotsa titanium, lotsa shiny silver parts, and box lining? C'mon.

Did I ease you gently enough into fat tires with that Ventus? Then try this Rabid Frameworks on for size. If there's not a little Jeff Jones homage/inspiration/DNA in that truss fork, I'll eat my helmet.

As long as we're going fat, let's go REALLY fat. This Rabid Frameworks chubbie was my "huh?!?" moment of the show. I have no idea why a front brake cable needs/wants to route through an extended lower steerer tube. It creates feelings in me that I myself do not understand. But I like it.

This is just a sampling of the local and semi-local wares on display. Of course, the only online article I can find that looks like it might divulge the winners of the Teesdale prizes is from our terrible local paper The Des Moines Regurtigator, and thus hidden behind 18 levels of firewall protection. So we'll just all have to stay in suspense on that one unless Steve F. actually stayed at the show long enough to find out.

(Aside: Intrepid reporter Steve K. is currently sleeping off the car-lag of his road trip to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, so if the kind of stuff you see here is your jam, stay tuned. Once he's curated his camera full of -- stunning, I'm sure -- photos, I'll post a link.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeff Bock doesn't seem to market his stuff beyond the Iowa borders. A shame.. his classic style would surely be popular with the folks who got into bikes back in the 70's and 80's. The fender striping is indeed sweet! For a custom bike, this is a great place to add a little extra flair.

The Ventus is another fine model! This very same bike was at NAHBS, and I saw it in the Campagnolo booth. Great lug work (titanium??), and the box lining is a great touch. I didn't notice where Ventus is based at. Are they in Iowa??

Did you mention how many bikes were displayed at the Iowa show? How far did exhibitors come from? I'll say that NAHBS featured a lot of semi-local builders. Some of the big guns that I saw at the 2009 Indianapolis NAHBS, such as Richard Sachs, Vanilla, or Waterford, were not in attendance.

Steve in Peoria,
where Flickr and photoshop are getting a workout on my NAHBS pics.