Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Season of Goodwill and All That

Dear Everyone:

With only a few days left of 2013 (OK, actually about a week or so), it seems only right and natural that our thoughts turn back to what a year it's been here at BCW...

Our production level has stepped up, as we've continued to push beautiful custom bikes out the front door several times a week. We've created some pretty incredible titanium tandems. Staff beards have reached unprecedented lengths. Ferdinand the cat is on his way to being an internet star... And we continue to be amazed and humbled by the incredible support we get from all the friends of BCW. So here is a seasonal shout-out to all of you. 

We got a bigger space this year and you rocked it. The Expo continues to grow into something we never imagined. Yes, we're already planning 2014. So thanks to everyone - exhibitors, volunteers, guests - and in particular...
...and of course thanks to Bina Bilenky for making it all come together for one awesome event.


For making it the best all-round single-speed-junkyard-craziness we've had yet... Big thanks to:
  • Dave Pryor and Mattie Bee and Topher and the whole crew at SSCXWC
  • Our sponsors: Stan's No Tubes, Red Bull and Chrome
  • Chewy's food truck for keeping us all well fed
  • Pat at Big Guys for closing the junkyard for Saturday's race
  • Pat Gaffney for good video presence and historic continuity
  • Anthony Skorochod for flawless EMT service
And to the daredevil rider who went to hospital after hitting the deck pretty hard - hey, we're glad you're okay, see you next year.

Thanks go as always to the BCW crew for their hard work and inspiration all year, and to all the participants and attendees who make these events so worthwhile... Happy Christmas. We couldn't do it without you. Now go ride your bikes!

- Stephen Bilenky

PS. Ferdinand has just reminded us that no Christmas BCW blog-post is allowed to omit the mandatory cute cat picture. So here's one from the feline fender selection:

Friday, December 20, 2013

So that was the 2103 Bilenky Junkyard Cross SSCXWC...

... and holy crap was that some race. You are all crazy. We lost count of just how many of you showed up to take yourself and your bike into places that bikes and people are clearly not meant to go. We are in awe of you. Seriously, thanks folks for making it the best Junkyard Cross yet.

Special thanks go to Dave Prior of SSCXWC who did such a great job of making it happen. Bilenky + SSCXWC was even better than we thought it would be (and we knew it would be pretty good). Competitors, sponsors, volunteers, drinkers, crazy nude guy -- we salute you all.

Pix? Results? More write-up? Limited edition 2013 race t-shirts (still available)? Yep, all here.

Seen this? Check out Red Bull's video of the race and Urban Velo's gallery.

And last but not least, here's another set of pictures we like.

See you all next year!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bilenky Junkyard 'Cross, Protected by Stan's No Tubes

The masses have spoken, and they are tired of shifting. Over 100 riders are in the SSCX class so that's moving up on the agenda … especially since the ones that make the finals are also qualified to race for the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships on Sunday. Things might get serious this Saturday. But probably not.

9:30am: Gates open for registration, number pickup, general hanging out.
10am-Noon: SSCX Qualifier Heats
Noon-1pm: Men's B Qualifier Heats, Women's Qualifier Heats
1-3pm: Championship Races (Freak, Men's B, Women's, Men's A, SSCX)

If you've been to Bilenky Junkyard 'Cross before, you know times are loose. But be aware that we'll have over 200 racers for the first time ever. So it will be run tighter than a fresh set of windshield wipers. Get there early to get your paperwork done and into costume.

Day of Registration is allowed. $20 per race, cash.

Beer tent will be open, $1 each (racers will get a few for free). 
Chewy's will be back to feed us, too.
And a super-special limited edition T is fresh off the presses, too.

IMPORTANT: This year you'll enter through the driveway to Big Guy's Used Auto Parts, NOT Bilenky Cycle Works. That door will be locked. Go around on Mascher Ave. If you're driving and parking at the Olney Train Station (which would be smart) then it's easy to get into the Junkyard from there.

If you're riding from town, a group will be leaving Love Park, JFK Plaza at 9am. LEAVING is the important word there. And you want to be in a pack on the parts of town we have to ride through. Safety in numbers, kids.

REMINDER: This isn't actually a "Junkyard" it's a store. Big Guy's sells all the stuff we'll be racing around and through. So don't smash stuff. Don't jump up on stuff. Don't climb up on stuff. Don't make your own barrier. Don't owe them money you don't got.

(Words above brought to you so eloquently by Dave Pryor and posted by Bina)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Made in the USA...

Labor Day weekend in Philly was the Made in the USA festival, a corporate bonanza of Budwieser and flags on the Parkway... Which seems like a good excuse to go all dang patriotic on y'all and show off a Bilenky that rolled out of the shop recently, built to a very specific set of customer requirements... (And why the heck not?)

This is a Signature Bilenky Monster Cross, a lightweight gravel-grinder / cyclocross / multi-surface tourer, with the specification that (within reason) as much of the bike and its componentry as possible should be USA-made.

Well, OK. You probably know by now that Bilenky is always up for a challenge, so here's what we came up with...
  • Frame - True Temper OX - light, strong, we like it
  • Wheels - Velocity, originally from Australia and now built in Florida
  • Hubs, BB and crankset - White Industries, of course
  • Brakes and cross levers - from Chico's finest, Paul Components
  • Shifters - courtesy of the friendly goats at Retroshift and a great product that's now officially Woodchuck (TM) recommended. Note: These are really good for touring as well as 'cross.
  • Headset - Chris King (ah, that one was easy)
  • Saddle - Selle Anatomica Titanico - made in Wisconsin, nice leather, a good alternative to Brooks
  • Odds and ends - Salsa bars, Thomson stem and seatpost
  • And the frame color - Ford light blue (what else?).

All of which shows you don't have to go (too) far to find great bike stuff. So, to all the other US frame builders and component manufacturers - have a great holiday and we salute you all!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Goodbye and thanks for everything!

Three years ago almost to the day, Steve hired me as a painting assistant. Since then I have painted and designed bikes, cut lugs, welded, brazed and polished, made graphics, written all kinds of things, wrangled cats, chased woodchucks, painted backdrops, set up two editions of the 'cross race, traveled, learned and gawked. It's been extraordinary.

In a few weeks I am moving to NY to get my Master's in industrial design. I'm super excited, but I'm going to miss Philadelphia a great deal. The best people I've met here have been cyclists: mechanics, volunteers, messengers, casual riders, serious tourers- everyone shares a sense of adventurous curiosity and generous kindness. When I travel, it's always the cyclists who are the warmest hosts and best tour guides. I feel privileged to have met so many great people.

One of the reasons I decided to go into industrial design is the potential to re-enter the bike industry as a designer in a few years. Design has always been my favorite aspect of the build process, and to do that full time is my dream job. We shall see.

I'll be back for the Junkyard Cross and the Expo of course, and if you want to keep track of me I have a personal blog that I update occasionally.

Note to self- biking with a bike on you is never fun.

Goodbye! I'll miss you all!


PS If anyone has a favorite bike co-op in Brooklyn that needs volunteers, let me know!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Notes

Last post I mentioned that this year marks our 30th anniversary- - but I didn't mention our Big Anniversary Special, which Steve cooked up. We're making a limited run of exceptionally extraordinary bikes with all kinds of unique features, all built by Steve's talented little paws.

Artistic license here-- we all know candles are a fire hazard.

You can read all about it (and reserve yours) right here. 

Meanwhile, we're at the height of build season. Everyone wants their bikes and we're rolling them out the door as fast as we can. Here's a pretty cream Tourlite about to ride away:


Here's a headbadge that got the super-fancy Naomi treatment:


It's on this tandem, shown here on its maiden voyage. And yes, our customers can borrow a stoker should they forget to bring their own. 

Note the combined look of amusement and fear. We are trackstanding. 

A team of Viewpoint riders sent us a special graphic for their downtube:

We stuck it on, sent the bike along, and by gum....

It was totally accurate!

We love seeing our bikes out and about. If you have a Bilenky and ride cool places (and you do) please send us some pictures. We take great pride in our products! 

Here's Tom and Kasy, taking great pride in a rack. 

And finally? Remember those little kittens from the junkyard a couple months ago? They've all found homes and fosters, and are just at the age when they know they're cute enough to get away with murder. Here's a representative sample, wondering what that wet sky stuff is: 

Just before she tore the curtain down and knocked the globe over

BCW: bikes and cats since 1983. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Travels with Steve

We had a great time at Cirque! We oogled,

Electric shifting utility bike Oh Yeah
We danced,

 We had moments of Zen.

This is right before Steve levitated.

It's always great to be around sweet bikes and the nerds who love them. 

Then we went to BIKE RACE DAY and brought a keg in Naomi's Power Trailer:

And later she rode home with an inebriated messenger in the Power Trailer. Circle of life!

We watched guys in spandex ride around in circles: 

Go team Jelly Belly!

Upon discovering that one keg holds rather a lot of beer, we had to enlist the help of the Philadelphia Bike Messenger's Association so we could take it back to Victory Brewing:

They killed it in about 15 minutes. Thanks guys!

Then we all went home and fell over.

By the way,  did you know we've been around for 30 years? 30 years of awesome bikes, weird bikes, big bikes, little bikes, and the evolution of Steve's beard.

Once it was brown.

Here's an anniversary picture. Apparently Steve has a previously unknown tagging hobby. 

I was wondering what happened to all my booth-painting aerosols

Believe it or not, we're already up to our eyes in Expo planning. Want a booth? Want to sponsor? Or volunteer? Or organize an alleycat? Let us know! Ferdinand is refusing to help this year!  Right now he has filed himself away under 'R' so we can't find him. 


So help a feline out! 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Events! Oh, my.

First of all, thanks to everyone who came out for the Bike Snob ride. Seems like everyone had a great time-- I know I did. Here's the snobby recap! I'll put the promised photos up as soon as I get 'em.


This weekend, as perhaps I've mentioned, we'll be at the Cirque Du Cyclisme looking at Old Bikes.

Stride in style

And we'd love to see you there. We'll bring a few of our own bikes and selection of Cool Stuff for the swap. 

Next weekend we're going touring. You should too. 

The weekend AFTER that (June 1st and 2nd) is the bikiest weekend of the year. Here's what you're doing: 

SATURDAY: Go to The Works! It's a race to benefit Neighborhood Bike Works, our favorite local non-profit. Ride around, do goofy things, enjoy the city, then go the Beaumont Warehouse and dance your tail off. 
So many hoagies

LATER ON SATURDAY: Stop by Firth and Wilson Transport Cycles to celebrate their opening! Bring beer for Simon and David. More bike shops=better city. And you all know Simon, our charming MC and former BCW crew member!

Less gun shops=also better city!

SUNDAY: Come watch the bike race with us on Lemon Hill! We'll have a keg of something nice and maybe a bike or two. Bike Race Day is the one day it is acceptable to be blind drunk at ten AM and yell at attractive cyclists all the time, so you know you can't miss this. 

We'll be one of those tents
MONDAY: Call in sick. 

AND FINALLY.... Our Jerseys are available for pre-order! Wheee! 

Will shoot your sexiness through the roof.

According to the website: "Wear it and watch as gawking cyclists ride into trees, motorists exit the bike lane unbidden, and race opponents give up at the starting line and slink home. THIS JERSEY IS POWER" You can get yours here.

That's it for now. Aren't May and June great?


Friday, May 10, 2013

Oh look, another Retrofit Special!

First of all, thanks to everyone who came out for the Bike Snob ride yesterday! I for one had a blast. Cool bikes, the nicest people ever, and a lovely evening-- can't be improved on. I'll post pictures as they come.

Also, today is the first day of our Bike Month retrofit special. Click here for details on steel, and here for details on titanium. Do it now and get your bike back in time to get out of town when it gets really hot. In fact, with couplers you and your bike can get all the way down to the penguins.

And send us pictures.

Expect Snob Ride pics next week. And thanks again!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Event Addendum

Here's another May event that I forgot to mention, and it's a good one: BIKE SNOB ABROAD RIDE AND BOOK SIGNING! 

When: May 9th, 6.00 PM (ride out at 6.30)
Where: Meet at Rittenhouse Square, end up at North Bowl.
What: Nice leisurely ride through the mean gritty streets of the city without pity, then books, beer and bowling balls.
Why: Meet Bike Snob, have a ride, hear about his book, buy a copy, have the best Thursday night ever.
How: All bikes and levels welcome. It'll be getting dark, so encrust your bike with knog lights, if you like. 

Here's the logo, as if you could possibly forget:

And here's a link to BikeSnob, in case you could possibly not know who he is!

You stoked? I'm stoked. See y'all there.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

April is the cruelest month according to some English guy with a hipster beard, but for us it is deceptively calm. We're cranking out bikes with a certain quiet desperation, so they're ready for the onslaught of MAY. Here's your abbreviated pre-May cheat sheet so you mark your calendars, should you want to.

May 4th-- Velofest at Trexlertown (or as everyone calls it, The Swap) A couple of us will be there selling Cool Stuff, which you should buy because our shop is absolutely lousy with Cool Stuff and it's getting on Isis' nerves (ahem).

May 3-4th-- Bike Expo New York, in New York. Keep Steve and some bikes company at Pier 36. Fellow exhibitors will be everything from Dahon to Lifeway Kefir.

May 17-19th is the fun and nerdy Cirque Du Cyclisme down in Leesburg VA. If you're at all into old bikes, fancy bikes, or old fancy bikes, this is THE PLACE.

We'll keep you updated as more stuff comes along; right now this is the Big Three.

What else?

This year's Expo is going to be in the Philadelphia Convention Center!!

That shiny thing behind the paintbrush
It is going to be so shiny and awesome! While we'll miss the grandeur of the Armory, we'll enjoy the lack of darkness and coldness (and so will you). 

On a side note, if you manage to bring the drip under the paintbrush to the Bilenky Booth during the Expo we'll give you a sweet prize and our undying gratitude because that thing is.....


BMXers who keep riding up it, we approve. 

Speaking of sculptures and sculptors, it has come to our attention that Steve is Auguste Rodin. 


We know now, Auguste! You couldn't hide forever! We expect all the bikes to come complete with writhing little bronze people, ok? And don't let us catch you sculpting paint drips. 

See you all in May!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

We have the best customers EVER

So a few months ago Bicycling Magazine made this video about us.We were overwhelmed with nice responses, from all over the world. The other day we got this email:

HI Steve Bilenky!
i saw online axcidently your excellent video this weekend. It inspire me and i draw some still frame, so i will send to you and hope you enjoy it. I'm artist in Rome and i think that some beautiful images have value. I appreciate your work and your video so much! I'm sorry about my english but i speak italian, german and tzech and not fluently english.
I send to you and your staff a hugs.

Clara De Paoli
Here are the pictures. We are speechless, senza parole, verklempt, and němý:

 Looking good, Steve!

We also got some great photos of one of our frequent customers doing RAAM (which, for the uninitiated, stands for Race Across America. The riders go across the continental US, in sometimes as little as eight days. Some do it in teams, which is reasonable, and some go solo which is NOT.)

Dan's team here had the oldest average age of any RAAM contestants ever: 

At the starting line....

 Made it!

 And here's Dan on his RAAM Litespeed, which we retrofitted this winter.

For the record, this guy has a Cessna airplane and a Burley tandem with just one set of couplers in it so it fits in the back.

And finally, here's an email we got today:
I thought I'd toss you an update: The Lygie you saved and renovated is still in fine shape and passed on to my son Nathaniel who rode it across 5500 miles across country and went on to a career in promoting bicycling for transportation, lifestyle, health and urban design. I will always remember the time on the phone time, trust, sensitive of art and esthetics and personal care invested in a rejuvenating a beat up bike that still means so much.
Thank you,
John Higley
Sherborn, MA 01770

 Aww! Thanks John! We love hearing about the lives of bikes that have been through our shop.

Bilenky Cycle Works-- serving criminally cool cyclists since 1983.

On an unrelated note, can it be spring now? I mean, COME ON!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Cleaning!

As some of you may have noticed, our website looks different. As some more of you may have noticed, it works! No more re-directing to pages from 2003 (although they may still be floating around in cyberspace somewhere, no one can remember the necessary passwords). One of the biggest changes is a readable, functional store that functions. 20th Century, here we come! Steve even has an iPhone.

Our Official Awkward NAHBS Family Portraits are out!

I should have made a vest for the 'chuck. I am a rotten rodent wrangler.


HOW did no one bring us a live woodchuck? Not one? Woodchucks are so eminently smuggleable, all you have to do is give them a few shots of bourbon and they sack out for hours in the nearest box. 

Like this!

Well it's your loss, next time you have to smuggle in a woodchuck that looks exactly like Jacques Anquetil if you want your free Bilenky! 

Also, Tom and Kasy don't want their vests. I'm gonna put em on Ebay, but I figured I'd give our faithful fans a chance to make us a first offer. They're both medium-ish. Tom's says 'love' on the back in glittery sequins and has hearts on the front. Kasy's is more conservative. Both have giant BCW patches on the back. HOW CAN YOU RESIST?

Meanwhile, we have rearranged the office, tried to tidy up the shop (ha. ha.) and made a significant dent in our bike queue. Ferdinand is having none of it: 

You can have these files when I'm good and ready.

 But check out this tandem! 
29er Ti Crazybike

And I leave you with a lovely video from one of our customers. These bikes are currently in for retrofits. We love facilitating globetrotting! 

 Ok, wanderlust ignited...

Also? Spring Classic season? Who's stoked?


Thursday, February 28, 2013

NAHBS Recap! We came, we saw....

Well that was fun! We're still reeling from amazing bikes, thin air, amazingly nice people, too much beer, too much snow... According to the airplane announcer guy, Denver is sunny 300 days of the year. According to me, it's kind of slushy. But there are actual mountains all around, and that makes it worthwhile.

All the bikes took the train:

ALL THE BOXES ARRIVED. Miracles can happen. 

And then those 12 grubby boxes became this:

So tidy.
And then Steve did this:


Note the pink vest. I'm waiting for our official shop photo with ALL our beautiful studded vests on display to turn up. Tom and Kasy didn't like wearing theirs at all, but Steve stood out like a hot pink glittering beacon all weekend. And the woodchuck got drunk:

The beer is called Old Chub

And passed out at like three PM: 

This is just embarrassing. 

We were honored to win the ribbon for best lugs! All those hours of cutting, flowing and polishing paid off:

AND moody lighting

We got a ton of awesome press, too. I can't sufficiently express how thrilled and humbled we all are by everyone's kind words. 

Here's a slightly mortifying blurb about me (of course this would be the weekend I had roadrash on my FACE)

Here's one from CXMagazine, about our SUPERFAST Baltimore Bullet 'cross bike. 

Some GREAT pictures from Bicycle Times.

MORE great pictures from BikeRumor.

There's more, but you get the idea.One of the great things about these shows is that all the builders from around the country (and world!) get to hang out and trade ideas and gripe and draw an already tight community tighter. We don't often  get to let our dork flags fly quite so flamboyantly! I'm writing a much longer recap on my own blog, if anyone's interested.

And now we're back, with bikes to build and a website to redo and a woochuck to resuscitate. Again, it was great seeing old friends, making new ones, and drooling on pretty bikes. And next year NAHBS will be in Charlotte! Bike trip, anyone?