When I started cycling there are 3 things I said I would never do. 1. Buy a flash expensive carbon fibre bike.
2. Wear colourful lycra. 3. Shave my legs. I have now broken 2 of these rules and I only have to shave my legs to complete the trifecta. And I wouldn't be surprised if the razor comes out at some stage and then I will be a serious
cyclist I suppose or completely mad one of the two.
I decided sometime last year that I wanted to get another bike to join my, flash expensive carbon fibre bike that I said I would never own, and my mountain bike that I fell of in the front yard and dislocated the a/c joint in my right shoulder which required reconstructive surgery to repair. What I really wanted to add was a bike I could ride almost anywhere on all sorts of roads from gravel to smooth bitumen and all others in between. Also another requirement was it had to be able to be taken overseas on some adventures whilst not costing me a fortune in excess baggage.
So after some discussion with my friend and local bike shop owner ,Wes, from West End Bike Hub in Wangaratta I decided to give Ewen Gellie from Gellie Custom a call. Ewen builds light weight steel bike frames from his workshop which is on the outskirts of Melbourne.This is a little blurb from his website.
" Handmade steel bike frames and complete bikes crafted one at a time, blending expertise in framebuilding, manufacturing and hard-core riding."
Buying a custom made bike frame is a pretty unique experience compared with buying a mass produced bike from a large bike manufacturing company. For a start it is built from a design especially configured to suit the owner that in my case was done with the help of Steve Hogg from Pedal Pushers/Cyclefit centre with whom I had a bike fit last July and one of the things Steve does is draw up a design of a perfect frame that is just for you. We used this design as the base for my machine and a few phone calls and emails to Steve and Ewen and myself we had a design we were all happy with.
I visited Ewen whilst on a trip to Melbourne to meet him and get a feel for the process. It's pretty cool when you see the tubes that will actually be used to manufacture your frame and then when the building begins Ewen sends photos of the frame in different stages of production. I wanted to be hands on with this new bike so I sourced all the parts and running gear myself and was very keen to assemble the bike once the frame was complete. Whilst I had never done this completely I had a fair idea of how to tackle most things from doing some part time work for Wes at his bike shop.One thing a little special about this new bike frame apart from the fact it is being hand built is that it has S&S couplings that allow the frame to be pulled apart so that it may be packed up into a decent size case for travelling.
Below is gallery of photos of the frame in various stages of production and some of the complete bike. The photos of the frame being built are from Ewen and the finished bike photos I took in the shearing shed on my farm.
The bike is an absolute pleasure to ride and the steel frame feels wonderful on the road soaking up the bumps whilst being responsive and handles perfectly.I got a really great sense of satisfaction from this project and feel the bike is very special and will never be last years model or mistaken for somebody else's as there is not another bike on the planet that looks like mine. ( Some of the frame photos have loaded with the wrong orientation. Will see if I can sort it out later.)