Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bill Gets a New Bike

Bill Bloom is a local cyclist and advocate who is having a custom frame built by Glen Copus of Elephant Cycles.  Bill agreed to write about his experience in a series for the blog.

I recently bumped into Geoff as we were both squeezing a quick ride into one of winter¹s brief moments of sun, reasonable temperatures and clear roads. I could not visit for long because after I returned home I was leaving to get fitted for my Elephant Bicycle. For those not in-the-know, Elephant Bikes (www,elephantbikes.com) are the creation of Glen Copus, a Spokane based frame builder. Geoff suggested that folks might be curious about the
process so I agreed to share mine in Two Wheel Transit's Shop Blog.

Why I wanted a custom-built bike.
It¹s local. I am an unabashed supporter of local commerce. Although I do not have a particularly large bike budget, I want to support folks like Two Wheel Transit and Glen because not only can they provide me with stuff like
tubes, tires, bike frames and tandems, but they are also tremendous sources of bike knowledge. Dave must wince (and Geoff must smile) whenever I come into the shop holding a bunch of previously connected parts from one of our family¹s dozen or so bikes.  I love being around folks like Glen and the gang at Two Wheel who have so much knowledge and experience where I only have curiosity.

The second reason to get a custom frame is to get something I don¹t already have and is not readily available right off the shelf. For the record, I am a recreational rider of road bikes. Although I do not race, I enjoy pushing myself physically and like big climbs. Personally it doesn¹t get much better than being out on the Palouse with friends or
family: short rides or long hauls, it¹s all good. My favorite bike is my Trek 5000, Trek¹s entry level all carbon bike. I love this bike. It is comfortable for hours, loves to climb and fits me perfectly. It only lacks the clearance for wider tires that I prefer on the gravel roads and a way to carry bags for the occasional overnighter. When the weather gets wet or there are bags to be carried, I turn to my 1980-something Cannondale touring bike. While this bike never lets me down and I love it¹s exquisite provenance, I really prefer a bike with a sportier geometry.

I ride with studded tires in the winter, although the only frame I have that will fit them is my bedraggled Nishiki/frankenbike commuter.

For my next entry I will go through a greatly abbreviated version of how I decided what kind of bike I wanted and about  working with Glen.

(Editors Note: Glen is a world-class builder who has worked with the likes of Bontrager and Serotta.  John Speare wrote a great article about Glen last year. http://www.johndogfood.com/john/Glen_Copus_Road_Article_Apr_2010.pdf)

Bill Bloom

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