Here is some correspondence that we received recently from a fellow member of the cycling community, which needs no further introduction from us.
The accompanying pictures were provided by RW of his 1994 Bilenky Signature Tourlite.
Thank you. Keep sending us this great stuff.
Dear Steve Bilenky & the Whole Bilenky Team,
I just wanted to reach out and thank you for your wonderful work in metal. I’m looking forward to reading the review of your tandem in the upcoming Bicycle Quarterly.
I am aware of your factory and some of your philosophy, which I call rebuilding an older mode of transportation over the ashes of a newer one.
Velo Orange Polyvalent frame (except for the arduous task, for a novice, of fishing the wiring for the headlight from the dynamo hub through the front fork & up through the fender). Yes, I learned how to lace and true wheels, although I finally got so frustrated with the finicky details, I had the bike shop give the wheels their final tensioning. And I have enough bike tools that I guess my NEXT bike will be RELATIVELY inexpensive!
As I say to people who look at me, astonished, and say, “You built your own bicycle?”, I say, “Well, I only built it out of PARTS, I didn’t build it out of ROCKS.” The parts are designed to fit together! I am sure you are very aware of that great little book, The Toaster Project, and REALLY building something out of rocks! If we can see farther, and do more, it is only because we stand on the shoulders of giants.
“I feel a certain urge to sing/
The kind of ditty that invokes the Spring!”
“I feel a certain urge to knurl…”
But I haven’t thought of a good word to rhyme with knurl! I have the complete sets of the Popular Mechanics Do-It-Yourself Encyclopedia, both the 1954 and 1968 editions, and in both sets, it seems you just couldn’t be a “real man” unless you had a metal lathe in the basement! Amazing how much the idea of DIY was much more prevalent earlier in the last century. I’m glad you are bringing back the art of craft. Craft is good. The work of hands is good!
Anyway, in this age of electronics, which is also building things, and I’m not an electronics snob either, and in fact I want to learn all about electronics and maybe build a simple computer, or perhaps you are aware of the factoring machines that use rotating chains to find prime numbers….
Thanks for reading through this screed, and, basically, just thank you for all you do!
Washington, D.C. & Charlottesville, Va.