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31

Dec
2014

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In Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

The Spirito of Christmas

On 31, Dec 2014 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

I enjoy going to bike shops, particularly those that have stood the test of time. My trip to Hoffy Cycles a week ago reminded me how nice it is to have a local bike shop catering to a range of cyclists, with the knowledge that they have done so for years and years.

I also really love going to visit single operators. These people, generally guys, but there are some great women operating, have often worked for shops, seen the retail and trade perspectives; now they need their own space. I believe there is a real niche for these kind of workshops. Dan Hale of Shifter Bikes is obviously doing his thing at an incredibly high level in Melbourne.

Ben Kamenjas from Sydney has worked for a range of bike shops over his career. Now he has set up his own space in St Leonards in Sydney’s north. His workshop Cicli Spirito is within a creative precinct supported by developers TWT. With my community/arts development hat on, it was fascinating to see the artists, photography studios and other creatives that had taken advantage of reasonable rent and flexible workspaces. Ben’s workshop backs on to a shared space for visual artists, beautifully highlighting the aesthetic characteristics of both their work.

Ben came up to Pushies in 2014 with a special bike he’d built himself. The bike was first set up as a classic down-tube shifting road bike that he road at L’Eroica. Then he turned it into a porteur of exceptional taste. So much so that it took out best cargo/utility in the show ‘n’ shine.

 

When I popped into Ben’s studio on Christmas Eve, he was finishing the last job for the year: converting his porteur into a gravel-grinder for the holidays. It involved some 10 speed Chorus  to 8 magic, putting on new bars and de-fendering.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but Ben’s space is dripping with character. Cartier-Bresson prints on the wall, stacks of vinyl around the record player, abundant Amoretti and espresso, this is a place that rewards observation. Look carefully and you’ll see parts of wall lined with the deli wrapping paper – the kind you get your finest Grana Padano in.

The words, “Fatto A Mano” (Italian for “Made By Hand”) are painted on the workshop wall. The personal touch can not be overstated in this “bicycle tailor.” Everything in the workshop has a story, everything in some small way reflects Ben’s personality and knowledge. If you’re in Sydney, do yourself a favour and say “ciao” to Ben. You won’t look at bikes the same.

See plenty more pics here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben also kind me lent me a bike while I was staying in Sydney. Possibly a Centurion frame, with braze-ons for centre pull brakes, Grand Bois tyres, bar-end shifters. The perfect bike for poking around town.

 

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10

Jan
2013

No Comments

In Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

Second generation

On 10, Jan 2013 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

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Peter Bundy followed the example of his father, Jim – by first racing bikes and then making them. Jim Bundy, now 85, was a very handy cyclist who made frames on behalf of larger companies. Peter convinced his father to go it alone and ever since customers have been able to get their hands on Jim Bundy/Peter Bundy frames.

Peter’s workshop set-up harks back to another era. The front of his shop looks like most bike shops, bikes waiting to be serviced, a few parts. Then out the back he works on the framebuilding – filing, mitering, brazing and the rest. I visited Peter for a few hours and in that short time I heard him explain three times to customers how his bike shop is a little different to others. “Yeah,” he explained to a passer-by, “we’re a bike shop and do all the normal stuff, then I do my framebuilding out the back.” I’m fairly sure a lot of people don’t quite understand how involved making frames out the back is.

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While I was taking photos of the space, a man walked in with an old Bundy pursuit bike. He’d bought it from Universe Cycles in Parramatta. He didn’t have any need for it any longer, so he offered to sell it back to Peter. A bike meets its maker.

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Peter is the definition of a top bloke. He’s enthusiastic about everything he does. Most people I’ve interviewed have been very conscious of wearing their logo-ed t-shirt, but Peter was happiest wearing what he works in: a Jackie Howe.  I sat down with Peter for a few minutes to talk about this family trade, his impressions on attending the Australian Custom Bicycle Show and why he only makes lugged frames.

Peter Bundy from Gavin Bannerman on Vimeo.

You can also see the whole set of images on Flickr here.

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