Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good bye and Thank you.

With 2010 coming to an end, we couldn't help but take a moment to think back on the past year and all that it encompassed. 2010 was a year of success, growth and hardship.

First- the success. The first Philadelphia Bike Expo was a huge success and we at the expo COULD NOT have done it without the help of our volunteers, attendees, exhibitors and the BCW staff. It was our hope to create an event that we, the city and all involved could be proud of, and we think we did that with this event. It is not lost on us who made it what it was and we can not thank you enough!

Next- the growth. The BCW Junkyard race was with out a doubt, the most successful installment of the event yet! We had NO IDEA of the turn out that we were going to recieve and we were gladly overwhelmed. With that being said, next year will feature more races, more prizes and ....MORE BEER! 

We at BCW would like to thank everyone who supported, raced and attended. We had a blast, we do this for both you and us and we are so glad that it is appreciated, and that everyone has such a wonderful time.

Third- the hardships. 

Some of you may or may not be aware, but a mainstay at BCW suffered from a terrible accident when preparing the course for the Junkyard race. Englishman, bike builder and resident Indian food afficianato (you do know, he lived on a beach in India and once saw the smiths, dont you?) Simon Firth dropped a GIANT beam on his foot while building the course. Subsequently, his big toe is about as useless as using anything but a BMX or downhill bike through that woods part of the junkyard race. Its so bad he may even lose it. So we would first like to wish Simon our best, second we would like for anyone who may know a guy who can get us a big toe to be in touch and third we'd like to ask you to keep checking www.bilenky.com for upcoming information on a fundraiser for Simon's bar....I mean medical bills that he will be accruing as he is due to be laid up for quite a bit.

Again, Thank you all for everything. We have MANY more exciting things in store for 2011-

A special NAHBS surprise.....

As well as the Junkyard 2011 race and The 2011 Philadelphia Bike Expo. Its set to be another exciting year and we hope to share it with all of you!

See you all on the other side! Ride Safe!

Steve Bilenky
Ray Hanstein

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Good good things.

We love our customers! We know that without them the happy little collection of misfits that make up Bilenky Cycle Works would not exist. So when this note of interest was passed along to me by (the lovely and talented :) ) Molly Jacobs of Bike & Build, I felt the need to share it with our readers in hopes of gaining support for the cause.

Bike & Build organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing groups. Specifically, they fund projects planned and executed by young adults. Over the past 8 seasons they have donated more than $2.7MM; built for more than 80,000 hours; pedaled over 5,000,000 miles; and engaged more than 1250 young adults in spreading the word about the affordable housing crisis in America.

Over eight seasons, Bike & Build has contributed $2,780,000 to housing groups to fund projects planned and executed by young adults; this includes more than $490,000 donated from the summer of 2010. Through pre-arranged gifts, Bike & Build funds affordable housing projects executed by their participants in communities where their events begin. Through their grant program, their organization identifies and supports exciting projects involving young people all throughout the nation.
Beginning with dipping their wheels in Atlantic Ocean, the participant of Bike and Build make their way across America via bicycle stopping along the way to help affordable housing projects.
This year, one of our customers is participating in Bike & Build, pedaling 3,800 from Maine to Santa Barbara. Marshall Moore of McLean, VA had his Surly Long Haul Trucker retrofitted with us last year and will be riding it across the country in the name of affordable housing!

As part of Marshall's trip, he must fundraise a minimum of $4,000. Below is a link where you can help Marshall's hopes of creating a better future become a reality! Please donate for yourself, donate as a gift or at the very least pass this information along to someone who is able to help. Too often during the holiday season we lose sight of the notion that the holidays are about GIVING and making a better place for all of us. By donating what you can to Marshall you are helping allow someone an opportunity to better the world through way of your generosity. All donations are tax deductible. In addition, Bike & Build accepts matching employee donations and issues receipts for donations over $75.00 or upon request.
For more information on Bike & Build, please visit http://www.bikeandbuild.org. To read more about Marshall, make a donation to his campaign, or track his progress, visit his rider page at http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/4631

Thanks. Happy Holidays. Safe Travels.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A day at the races (with some casualties and lots of beer)

Greetings from an exhausted and moderately hungover Bilenky crew.

The 5th annual junkyard cross was huge-- a hundred and twenty racers and at least as many spectators, who banged on cowbells, heckled, or, like me, bit all their nails off whilst watching their favorite people riding through our most technical course yet.

The set up didn't go nearly as smoothly as the race. While moving the framework for the (epic and slippery) over-under obstacle, a big I-beam landed on Simon's foot and broke two toes. Yikes. Despite shattered bones and tons of painkillers Mr. Safety Firth still MC'd,

And threw things at people,

Get well soon, Simon! Check back for info on a toe-related fundraiser. Goldsprints, maybe?

On top of that, our intrepid trail builder had to spend race-day in bed with food poisoning. Waft good karma at Carl, too, without whom these awesome trails wouldn't have happened.

But the race had to go on. Registration was swamped the minute it opened. (And thanks to our brave impromptu volunteers who handled it)

First stop: artisan beer tap.

Next stop: psychedelic taco truck.

Once everyone was sufficiently tanked and fed, it was time to go. CXHairs.com has a great video up already:
http://vimeo.com/18000092 (For the record, I think everyone bailed on that see-saw at least once. Or maybe that's wishful thinking, because I did).

And here is a helmet cam video!

And a few stills:

 The see-saw took some nerve (thanks to Joe P for building and bringing it!)

 No 'cross is complete without a bear.

 Round the Sex Pit and into the snow plough!

The youngest rider tore it up.

So did these ladies.

Keep checking back for more images and films, I'll put them up as we get them.

The best vantage point was definitely off the top of the trailers in the junkyard:
How many races does one watch by climbing up a precarious ladder onto a roof with bumpers all over it? With good beer, great tacos, and the best company in the world? I watched racers zoom by below me, mostly avoiding the temptation to dump beer on them, unless they asked.

Congratulations to our winners, who carried off some sweet prizes from White Industries, Chris King, and others. Miraculously, no one got seriously hurt, though there were plenty of dings and scrapes. I watched one guy slide off the over-under, grab the railing, dangle for a moment, then haul himself back up. Someone on the ground caught his bike, too. (If anyone has any footage/pics of this, PLEASE send them to us? It was probably the most hair-raising moment of the day.) But there were no major pile ups, and no light person got catapulted off the see-saw by a heavier person, as we all secretly hoped feared.

Then we drank more beer and threw a cracked GT at a traffic cone:

Then we rode home in the lovely afternoon. Thanks to everyone who came out, helped with set up and tear down, provided beer (that's you, Dog Fish Head!) and food and appallingly spicy seitan that nearly killed Kasy, but didn't. And of course, thanks to the the racers who braved probably toxic mud, definitely toxic puddles, janky obstacles, rusty metal and freezing cold to make a great race day.

Cheers, and here's hoping for a quick return of Simon and Carl!


EDIT: Yay! Here's the video I was looking for. Awesome. Thanks, Wade Boggs!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nothing says holidays like pneumatic clamps and see-saws...

Happy Winter from Bilenky!
It's definitely cold. Simon has grown a beard, Bob's water bottle froze on the way to work, Kasy has finally switched from shorts to long pants, and my beret collection has reached epic proportions (Carl's Christmas socks, however, have disintegrated).

So much has happened since we posted last-- the Expo was a huge success, drawing crowds of bike enthusiasts who staggered through the Armory on aesthetic overload. Can you blame them? Here's just a few of the amazing things on display:

Gorgeous Bohemian Track Bike

                                        Custom Engin stem

Really good free coffee+Citroen van+JP Weigle restored Motobecane= PERFECTION

                                                           Freestyle Demos

Sweet accessories from Fabric Horse

Neighborhood Bike Works kept visiting bikes out of trouble

It was a great experience for everyone, and we're already selling booths for next year. Thanks to our sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers and attendees for putting together something amazing.

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction honored us with a show in their gallery. Here are some videos, with our camera-shyness artfully edited out.

This morning Simon turned up with a pile of pneumatic clamps from  the closing Cannondale factory in Bedford PA.
Run away! Run away!

 One of them immediately took a bite out of Ray's finger, so I'm skeptical.

It's 'Cross season, and THAT means Carl has been out mucking around in the freezing mud to construct our Junkyard Cross course.

"I've always wanted to build trails..."

So far we have two dirt singletracks, a death-defying slide down a gas tank, and a see-saw. And lots of beer and a bonfire for those of us who are wusses don't want to get our pretty bikes all muddy.

In the music world, Stephen's latest album is out to a great review, and was chosen as one of the top ten local albums of the year. Go Notekillers!

Thanks to everyone for your support, keep warm, and hope to see you at the 'cross!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Bilenky Cycle Works - Alive and Well

Long time no post, huh blogworld? Well, that’s because we at Bilenky Cycle Works have been EXTREEMLY BUSY, which as anyone will tell you in this economy is a great problem to have!

With September now in full swing, I for one, am happy to welcome in the fall! Cross season, long pants, jackets, pumpkin beers and of course, The Philadelphia Bike Expo! The expo has grown exponentially since it went from idea to full blown event. The expo itself is full with exhibitors (with a few remaining spaces available) the fashion show is promising to be a highlight of the weekend and more and more momentum in the media is beginning to build up!

Our early registration for attendees is currently open with the first 100 people receiving a hand numbered and signed special edition retro show poster! These are going fast, be sure to sign up early!

This summer was full of excitement and growth for us here at BCW! From our demo’s and promotional events at the Velodrome, the Univest Grand Prix, our window installment at Moore College, our check point at this year’s Maypril Fools Race and Bike Philly... to our feature at the Rapha NYC pop-store, our participation in the Gentlemen’s races - both on the east coast, as well as the west coast, and The NBW Ride of Dreams – we have been hard at work spreading the word about our award winning machines, but the work is far from over as the cold weather slowly makes it’s way into Philadelphia.

Of course, there is The Philadelphia Bike Expo on October 30th and 31st, but along side of that there is the Junkyard Cross Race in December which we believe will be our biggest yet, the launching of The Bilenky Cycle Works Women’s Cross Team, and our trip to Interbike this year (Be sure to say hello to myself, Simon, Molly and Vickie!) As well as whatever we end up throwing together at the very last moment each and every weekend :)

We’d like to thank everyone who has helped us out along this road to growth and want to remind everyone who has helped us, who we’ve worked with and who is always there to lend us a hand that we could not do this with out you!

Thanks as always and bring on the cold!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Something is missing...

The Bilenky Cycle Works Shop in North Philadelphia has been without a few of its normal trappings this week. Missing is the smell of Vietnamese spring rolls, Mounds wrappers and saddest if all...the sarcastic remarks are at an all time low. Why is this you ask? Well, it is because Simon Firth is out saving the world, one mile at a time!

Simon is taking part in this years Neighborhood Bike Works 'Ride of Dreams' - a 4 day, 240 mile ride raising awareness and money for the Neighborhood Bike Works Youth Racing Team.

The ride began on July 17th, leaving from UPENN and heading through PA. until reaching Harrisburg and then again returning to Philadelphia, today.

Congrats to all those who took part! And congrats to Simon for making it in one piece...there may or may not be a Mounds bar waiting for you on your station.

+ =

Old News Is Still Good News!

So, shame on me for missing this, but our friend Roland from RE-LOAD BAGS is featured on the front page of the Kryptonite Website on his green Bilenky track bike!

Check it out HERE

And Thanks for the kind words as always Roland!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Night At The Races

On Friday, we at Bilenky Cycle Works. headed out to The Valley Preferred Cycling Center Velodrome to watch the Friday night races and promote The Philadelphia Bike Expo (October 30th and 31st!)

The Valley Preferred Cycling Center  is the most celebrated velodrome in modern American cycling history – and has inspired dreams of countless champions who began their trek to glory on its 333-meter track. It is truly wonderful to have something so engrained in the history of track racing so close to us. It was my first time at the Valley Preferred Velodrome (or any velodrome for that matter) and I've quickly fallen in love. (as well as entertaining the idea that I'm actually amazing at track racing, but I just dont know it, cause I haven't tried it.)

We had a great time and got to meet some very nice people and caught some exciting races from national and international riders alike!!

Please be on the look out for us and be sure to stop by and say hello at future races at the velodrome.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rapha Footage

If you haven't had the pleasure of watching the short film (it's that beautiful!) about this years Rapha Gentleman's Race, do yourself a huge favor and sit back, relax and enjoy. The video, soundtrack and footage are nothing short of stunning.

Also, keep an eye out for team Bilenky's Maria and Jed about halfway through, fixing a flat on their tandem!

Watch the video HERE!

Monday, June 7, 2010

RE-LOAD Product review

While stopping by the new RE-Load studio last week to meet with Carie from Fabric Horse, I picked up a pair of RE-Load's venture into the world of foot straps. I replaced the pedals on my commuter, a globe roll 2 retrofitted (at Bilenky of course!) with Odyssey platforms, put on my new straps and the streets of Philadelphia for the TD bike race this past Sunday.

The RE-Load Lockdown Foot Straps feature 2" wide heavyweight nylon webbing uppers, covered with 1000D cordura and finished with edge trim. 1" nylon lower straps. Completely adjustable via multiple layers of sandwiched UltraMate™ velcro and a nickel-plated D-Ring connector.

To say that the change was one of the best additions I've made to my bike since getting it, is an understatement.

The comfort of the straps, the ease in which you can get into them (seemingly in any type of footwear) and their stylish design make it well worth the $47 dollar price tag. (Which is below the industry price point for similar products)

I headed to Lemon Hill for cheap beer and to watch the race, there I found Roland and made sure to tell him how happy I was with the edition to my bike! He said he was glad to hear it, and than handed me a cold beer...Great guy...Great Product.

Check out www.reloadbags.com for more information regarding the straps, as well as information regarding all of their other products handmade here in Philadelphia.

Raymond Hanstein

Cirque Du Cyclisme

This weekends Cirque Du Cyclisme was (as usual) a great experience for us here at Bilenky Cycle Works.

We would first like to send a warm 'Thank You' to event organizers M.J. and Wayne Bingham from Mel Pinto Imports/Velo Classics, who again did a wonderful job bringing some of the industries most recognized frame builders together for the Cirque, celebrating its 13th year in 2010!

Bilenky Cycle Works walked away with 'Best City Bike' and 'Best Paint Job' on our ice blue Porteur with rack built by Bob, and pin striping done by Simon.

We also picked up best restoration for our Maroon Falcon restoration and second place for best track bike.

Friday, May 28, 2010


As if his interesting and hilarious blog posts were not enough of a reason to give him a mention on our blog,  John from Prolly Is Not Probably has been posting a bunch of articles on two of my favorite people and using the photography of another.

Be sure to check out his write ups on the beast known as Tony Fast, Photos from Buttons, a great dude and recent Orlando transplant and his recent mention of my brother Dom, the most underrated human being God ever made the mistake of creating and his black metal merckx shirt.

Read. Subscribe. Support.


Moore Window Installation - A Crash Course In Art

Although The Philadelphia Bike Exposition feels as though it is a lifetime away, the truth of the matter is, that it is not. With crunch time quickly approaching for promotions and press, as well as The Philadelphia Bike Race June 6th, our friends at The Moore School of Art and Design were kind enough to offer us their gallery to promote our quickly approaching event.

The gallery will feature a collection of bikes, apparel and art from some of Philadelphia’s standouts in the cycling community including Bilenky Cycle Works, Chris Wright Cycles, Engin, Reload, Fabric Horse, Fuji, and more! The gallery is free and open to the public.

Both exposition space and sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information on both please email us at Bilenkymedia@gmail.com

Also, for more photos of the vinyl decal designed by myself and Brian, please check out www.lafilleatomique.com. La Fille Atomique is a Philadelphia based fashion and lifestyle blog, run by the lovely Molly Jacobs, who has just taken the reins in organizing the fashion show for the Philadelphia Bike Expo.

The DOG days of Summer (get it?! get it?!)

The Dog Days of Summer are quickly on their way and what a better day to post our pictures from The RE-Load Maypril Fools Ride! If you took part in the ride and happened upon the Bilenky Cycle Works check point in South Philadelphia, chances are you happened upon not only a drunken British guy named Simon, a three year old bartender named Wade and a jar of peanuts, but chances are you also found your way into our hot dog costume!

We’ve posted the pictures on our flickr for all to enjoy!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rapha G-Race Report

Slow and steady... it's going to plateau soon. A first person account by Jed Kornbluh


Slow and steady... it's going to plateau soon. Slow and steady.

I heard this refrain from my riding partner, over and over and over as we slogged up the endless steep grade of gravel and soft sand. She wouldn't stop, just pressing on and on pushing me harder to continue up the climb without stopping to rest my legs, slow my raging heart beat, or pass out in the ditch to be picked over by the circling buzzards. She couldn't stop. We were on a tandem and she was the only mental motivation keeping me from dumping our bike into the woods and giving up for the day. If not for Maria, I would have likely quit at the base of this beastly climb and hailed the broomwagon to tow my shamed, sweaty carcass back to Mohawk Mountain to dwell in my self-doubting misery.

The idea seemed like a good one: Stephen Bilenky, of the bicycle brand that bears his name, contacted me at the last minute to see if I was interested in joining his crew of three tandem teams to compete in the upcoming Rapha Gentleman's Race, a 120-mile unsanctioned, unmarshaled race with nearly 11,000ft of climbing near Litchfield, CT. Though I had no idea where the race course would travel, what tandem I would be riding, or who my partner (known as a stoker) would be, I agreed almost immediately and made plans to head up to Connecticut the following weekend. We arranged to rally at his North Philadelphia shop the day before the race to meet my partner and dial in the tandem with a few test rides. When I arrived at the shop, the rest of "Team Bilenky" was there getting situated on their tandems, but my stoker, Maria Dziembowska, had failed to arrive. I spent some time swapping stems, installing pedals, and adjusting my position while I got to know my team mates Bob, Sarai, Carl, and Lauren, all of whom were busy dialing in their own long-bikes for the event. Unfortunately for me, Maria was tied up working a National Bike to Work Day event so I settled for a quick fit and test ride with Stephen (we rode a few blocks to the bank and back... seemed ok to me) and then headed home to pack up my family and head north.

The Race

As usual, I was the first guy in the parking lot. Piers North, a member of the Rapha Continental team and my old Rapha Racing NYC team mate, pulled in a few minutes later and we caught up while wondering where the rest of the teams were. The race was starting in less than 45 minutes and it seemed like we were in the wrong place and, perhaps, the wrong day. Thankfully, within a few minutes riders started to trickle in, first the Independant Fabrications team, then Geekhouse, followed by BH/Garneau, Seven, and within thirty minutes everyone had arrived.
Everyone, that is, except for Team Bilenky.
I waited patiently, walking from car to car finding friends from Philadelphia, NYC, and beyond, all of whom were gathering supplies, pumping tires, embrocating, and nervously waiting for their start time to arrive. Team Bilenky was supposed to roll out of the parking lot at 9:30 with the IF team with others to follow in 10-minute increments, but as the clock ticked on to 9:15 I started getting very nervous and considered spending the day with Rapha's Derrick Lewis in one of the support vehicles. Just when I started to accept my fate the Team Bilenky vans appeared. Stephen popped out of the cargo van and started to unload our bikes while I got acquainted with Maria. We took a quick roll around the parking lot and headed out the driveway about 2 minutes late, which meant we would have to start hard and fast to keep the IF team in sight.

Bob and Sarai headed out in front of us, with Carl and Lauren bringing up the rear. As we approached the first climb (only minutes from the start), Bob and Sarai started to increase the pace wherein Maria and I instinctively got out of the saddle and started pumping up the ascent. For those who have never ridden a tandem, this is not something that comes naturally to most tandem teams. In fact, my parents, who have been riding tandems together since 1973 and have traveled to several continents to ride some of the most beastly climbs known to cyclists, have never mastered this skill. We not only nailed it but discovered our preferences for cadence climbing and pedaling style were nearly identical. Having just met 10 minutes earlier, it was obvious that we clicked on the bike and would have a great day of riding as long as we remained focused and determined to battle the elevation and gravel roads with vigor.

Our team soldiered up the first few climbs with great enthusiasm, though our mates Carl and Lauren weren't on our wheel as we'd hoped but we continued on, soft-pedaling while they caught us on the next descent. Thankfully, I had remembered to bring my Garmin Edge 705 with the course programmed, with the intention of taking the descents as fast as possible and allowing the GPS to alert me of our next moves. We were rolling along the zippy slope at around 50 mph, carefully pushing the underpowered cantilever brakes to their limit as the road flattened out and our next turn appeared. The push was too hard - we successfully blew out our rear tire, thankfully at around 30 mph and not while carving a corner. If this had happened on the descent I would be dictating this story from inside of a body cast and Maria might still be stuck in a tree along the road. We pulled over, half-way up the next climb, to quickly repair the tube while watching the other teams blow past our position. First Geekhouse, then HUP United. As I made the tube swap the Rapha video crew pulled over to interview us, asking how we flatted. I muttered something about the rims heating up and blowing the tube, which was about as straight-forward an answer as I could come up with while under pressure.
Tube fixed quickly and professionally. Back on the bike.
We slogged up the climb while being filmed by the crew, cracking jokes with them all the way to the top through our soft panting. Carl and Lauren had reconnected and we were a whole team once again. We continued on to the next few hills, passing more and more riders as we swiftly descended and moved back into second position. Maria and I got to know each other a little better, conversing freely when we weren't panting up the climbs or carefully negotiating gravel and soft sand on the pre-Colonial roads of NW Connecticut. We continued to attack the climbs with renewed intensity and accepted that, though teams would likely pass us on the incline, we would make up ground bombing down hills with our brakes screaming like tweens at a Justin Bieber show.
And so we did, for many more miles, until we arrived at the first checkpoint. We rolled in with Bob and Sarai, with Carl and Lauren just a few minutes behind us. Once there, higher seeded teams started pouring in. First BH/Garneau, then Bicycle Therapy, 5th Street Cross, Adler, and Rapha Continental. We refreshed our bottles and joked around with other riders, all the while taking notice of who was starting to crack. Matt Richards, of BH/Garneau, looked like death warmed over. He admitted to having no legs and I had doubt that he would survive the day. Though I consider Matt a friend, I relished in the idea that BH/Garneau had a chink in their captain's armor. Most of the teams rolled out together and regrouped on the next set of climbs.

We were sufficiently passed by most on the next steep climb, including the freshly-scented Embrocation Cycling Journal squad and tightly organized Bicycle Therapy, while we reserved our energy for the fabled twisting gravel climb just before the next checkpoint. According to the race notes, the next checkpoint would be just after the gravel climb at around mile 55-60. We pushed the pace on the next flat section and reconnected with the IF crew, trading rumors and speculation about the severity of this so-called deadly climb. Assuming the stair-step ascent we had just completed was this mysterious stretch we sat up and scoffed the organizers for their folly. Surely, that was not a serious climb.

Then we saw it. The road banked into a gravel incline that made the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention. I shifted into our 39x32 and agreed with Maria to put our heads down and just work it out. This climb was not a gradual incline nor a steady, steep grade. No, it was far worse. The road would climb, then plateau into a false flat over and over again without any chance for recovery. We lost track of mileage and time and continued to focus on the next rise on the horizon, though we estimated the total ascent was around 4.5 miles. Just when we thought we had reached the tree line the road would twist off into another direction, taking us higher and higher along the grade. We pushed. Panted. Sweated. Suffered. The entire way up the climb Maria seemed to know when I needed more encouragement.

"Only one more rise."

"Slow and steady."
"Keep up the intensity!"
She would occasionally apply a strong burst of pedal strokes, propelling us faster for a moment and supplying a much-needed change in rhythm. We worked together seamlessly, like a seasoned team sharing one set of legs. The confluence of our energy and tempo was incredible and we both mindlessly pushed up the ascent as if being slowly motor-paced by a dump truck.

We made it.
The next chunk of time was a blur of refueling, hydrating, and quietly congratulating each other as we anxiously pushed on to the next checkpoint, which didn't arrive until somewhere around mile 70. After attempting to repair a nearly-trashed chain and derailleur (saved by Bob!), we pulled in to find the bulk of the teams resting and impatiently waiting for sandwiches from the tiny general store nestled in Taconic State Park (yes, we were now in New York) that served as our second checkpoint. As our team was incomplete without Carl and Lauren, we decided to hang out and eat some lunch while we waited. Somewhere along the way we had picked up Tony Slokar, of Jonathan Adler Racing, who was suffering from severe leg cramping and had dispatched his team long ago to continue the battle without him. Tony and I ordered sandwiches while considering buying a few Bud tall boys and calling it a day. We stepped outside to find Maria cracking open an aforementioned Bud and splitting sips with Sarai. I watched in awe, and a bit of worry, as we still had 60 miles to finish, including a few steep climbs. We grabbed seats on the rocking chairs in front of the store and relaxed while we waited for our sandwiches, sucking down cold bottles of Coke, and patiently wondered what had become of Carl and Lauren whom we had dropped on that nasty dirt climb.

Time passed. No sandwiches. Beth Strickland and the rest of her 5th St Cross posse has arrived long before we did and had quickly run out of patience for the little old lady slowly making more sandwiches in one hour than she had admitted to making all month. We eventually got ours just as Carl and Lauren rolled in 45 minutes after we had arrived. Rumors of their two-hour time gap had been greatly exaggerated and we celebrated their arrival, rushing to get them fed so that we could continue on. With my gut full of Coke and half-digested Clif Shot Bloks, I was barely able to finish half of my sandwich, wrapping up the rest in case we got lost and had to forage for food for the next few days. Once sufficiently refueled we soldiered on to the next section.
Rolling along we discussed the course profile at length. Where would the next climb be? Are these directions accurate? Will our brakes hold out? We had no idea that the next nasty climb would arrive so soon after gorging on turkey sandwiches. With most of our blood volume at work in our digestive tracks, we were totally unprepared for the next climb, a soft, sloppy, gravelly ascent with no room for error. Unfortunately, my arms stopped receiving the proper impulses from my brain and steered us directly into the ditch, so we hoofed it all the way up this climb until we were able to remount. Thankfully, filmmaker Brian Vernor was there to capture the episode on camera. We continued on, making the best of the ride, and with 90% of the climbing behind us we were able to enjoy the scenery and focus on steady intensity.
Maria and I were starting to feel the effects of long hours in the saddle, though our spirits remained high. Soreness, exhaustion, etc. had set in. We flatted once again, but this time along a lovely bucolic country road flanked by a soft moss bed. I changed the flat while Bob, Sarai, Maria, and Tony stretched out in the grass for a moment. A few mechanical issues later (make that 4 flats total and a nearly destroyed rear derailleur thanks to some shoddy shifting by yours truly) we were in the home stretch, only 15 miles from the finish and traveling at high speed along the hard pack of River Road. Stopping only to nurse a slow leak in our rear tire every few miles we pressed on, bombing along Housatonic River Road until we were within an arms length of the final climb, Everest Hill Road. Knowing that we were only about a mile from our finish and with the sun beginning to set in the western sky, Maria and I launched out of the saddle in our 39x34, giving this climb everything we had. We dropped Tony. We passed Bob and Sarai. Maria was pushing so hard I could feel the point of her helmet in my back, which pushed me even more. We reached the top and rejoiced.

With a mile to go along Great Hollow Road, we could feel that rear tire bottoming out with every square pedal stroke. Pushing to toward the entrance of the park, we heard the remaining RGR riders cheer us on as we came into view, carefully negotiating that final turn into the parking lot and down to the start area, all the while hoping to not dump the tandem with our rear flat tire only inches from the finish. We were greeted with more cheering and, of course, some cold beer. Carl and Lauren arrived a bit later, guided in by the headlights of our support vehicle with Stephen in the passenger seat. As they pulled in fireworks exploded down the road. Yes, really. We hung around for a while, swapping stories about the worst of the ride and all agreeing that we would do it again, but not for a while. Team Bilenky parted ways and made plans to continue entering impossible events like this. Why not, we survived this one.

The Rapha support team did a phenomenal job. This ride was well executed and meticulously organized, though I expected nothing less from such a firm. The course was nasty, even unrideable by most conventional standards, but we not only finished we finished on a tandem that we had never ridden and with partners who had never met. Maria and I agreed to do this again and likely will, hopefully out west in next edition of the RGR in August.

Jed Kornbluh

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hello Summer - The 9th Annual Maypril Fools Ride

Tomorrow is the ninth annual R.E. Load Maypril Fools Fun Ride!

The ride is akin to a scavenger hunt, riders will be given a list of stops at the start of the race with different point values assigned to them. Riders choose their own path through the ride and complete an array of strange tasks in search of prizes!

Speaking of prizes! We at Bilenky Cycle Works will be giving away a white leather Brooks saddle to celebrate our teaming with the famed company as their North American Repair Shop! Our check point is located at 1424 Carlisle  (between Reed and Dickinson, right off of 15th) Come by, get points, guess the number of peanuts in a jar, have your picture taken with a hot-dog, watch us drink beers and try your hand at winning the Brooks saddle! Be sure to bring us gifts such as more beer and traditional British cuisine as we are easily influenced by bribes!

The ride is for the entire cycling community and is completely accessible for bikes and riders of all types so we hope to have a huge turnout! Come out early and show your support for Philadelphia's booming bike scene.

The Ninth Annual R.E.Load Maypril Fools Fun Ride
Saturday, May 15th
*Registration/package pickup for pre-registered riders: 12pm
Race starts: 2pm
Entry Fee: $10 **
Maypril Fools Pre-registration

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bilenky Cycle Works Announced as the Official Brooks North American Repair Shop

 Bilenky travel Bike visits 10 Downey Street by you.

We at Bilenky Cycle Works are proud to announce that we have been named by Brooks Saddles as their Official Brooks North American Repair Shop.

On a recent trip to the UK, Simon had the chance to work closely with the Brooks team in preparation for the official announcement of this union. In his time spent there, Simon studied the finer points of riveting and leather work and upon his return to the states we are making this the official announcement.

Brooks, of course, has been making their world famous saddles and bags since they filed their first saddle patent in 1882. Since 1882 Brooks has continued to create fine products far above and beyond the industry standard. To say that we are thrilled at this joint venture is a great understatement.

If you have any questions regarding the services that we will be providing as the Official Brooks North American Repair Shop you can email us at Bilenkymedia@gmail.com or artistry@bilenky.com


Let's Go Giro

The 2010 Giro d'Italia , the three-week Grand Tour around Italy begins tomorrow!

You can catch all the action on the Universal Sports network, they are providing the live broadcast of the race this year. Coverage begins at 10 a.m. (ET) every race day, and then at 8 p.m. (ET) there is a rebroadcast. On the two rest days, Universal will offer a review of the week's action. Also, both CyclingNews and VeloNews will offer live coverage. La Gazzetta dello Sport also is offering coverage in English.

The race features three days in the Netherlands that lead into six mountain stages that include the Gavia, Mortirolo, Terminillo, Zoncolan, Plan de Corones and Pejo Terme, Seven sprinters' stages and four time trials (one to open and one to close, one in the mountains and one team event) While plenty of action is promised early in the bike race, the final eight stages will set the tone with four mountain stages and two time trials.

The scheduling of two major events in May means that cycling teams and racers have to choose between two events – The Giro and The Amgen Tour of California, scheduled for May 16 – 23. For example, Lance Armstrong, who competed at the Giro for the first time ever last year, and sprinter Mark Cavendish have opted to race in California. Talk of the Giro beginning in Washington, DC in 2012 continues to swirl in hopes of garnering more interest for the race in the states.

The next three weeks of my life? - mimosas, coffee and simulcasts of the Giro and the Tour of California! I suggest you do the same!

Be sure to check back often for updates on the race

Giro d'Italia stages

Stage 1 - Saturday, May 8, Amsterdam TT
Stage 2 - Sunday, May 9, Amsterdam - Utrecht
Stage 3 - Monday, May 10, Amsterdam - Middelburg
Rest day, Tuesday, May 11, Savigliano
Stage 4 - Wednesday, May 12, Savigliano - Cuneo TTT
Stage 5 - Thursday, May 13, Novara - Novi Ligure
Stage 6 - Friday, May 14, Fidenza - Marina di Carrara
Stage 7 - Saturday, May 15, Carrara - Montalcino
Stage 8 - Sunday, May 16, Chianciano - Monte Terminill
Stage 9 - Monday, May 17, Frosinone - Cava de' Tirreni
Stage 10 - Tuesday, May 18, Avellino - Bitonto
Stage 11 - Wednesday, May 19, Lucera - L’Aquila
Stage 12 - Thursday, May 20, Città Sant'Angelo - Porto Recanati
Stage 13 - Friday, May 21, Porto Recanati - Cesenatico
Stage 14 - Saturday, May 22, Ferrara - Asolo (Monte Grappa)
Stage 15 - Sunday, May 23, Mestre - Zoncolan
Rest day, Monday, May 24, Friuli
Stage 16 - Tuesday, May 25, San Vigilio di Marebbe - Plan de Corones TT
Stage 17 - Wednesday, May 26, Brunico - Pejo Terme
Stage 18 - Thursday, May 27, Levico Terme - Brescia
Stage 19 - Friday, May 28, Brescia - Aprica
Stage 20 - Saturday, May 29, Bormio - Passo del Tonale
Stage 21 - Sunday, May 30, Verona - Verona TT

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Feedback! We love it! We received this today!


I enjoyed riding the bike you built for me from Santa Barbara to San Diego a few weeks ago.  It traveled well on the airplane and rode great!