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Bilenky Cycleworks
Steve Bilenky
Philadelphia, PA

Steve and his crew reminded me of Earl Chervenka and his shop in Sutton Bay called Chervenka's Rung and Bung Works. Just like Earl (no pun intended) Steve and Simon probably have every tool possible, and know how to use every one.

Steve says in the Show Catalog:
"Like you I waited impatienly for my two-wheeler. I tinkered and disassembled, swapped parts, overhauled, repainted. I minded shop backs and fronts. I studied agricultural engineering, welding, machining, fabricating, painting farm implements, attending vo-tech shools in two states.
I studied under British framebuilder Jim Gittins. I worked alone in rented factory space and under train tracks.
I'm 753 certified ...I've trained painters, brazers, and finishers. I'm fortunate to have assembled the finest team of my career ... and I'm here to show you how it's done in Philly."

About Steve Bilenky and friends...
Exclusive to The Fixed Gear Gallery by Bill Palladino.

Steve Bilenky:
O.K., I’ll just say it. When I first saw this builder I wondered if I’d missed a character out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Imagine if you will, Gimli the dwarf wearing an old-school wool jersey and sporting a Cinelli cap. Imagine him smiling. Imagine him really smiling, and perhaps wielding a torch to fend off the trolls that would plunder the history that is American bicycle frame building. You’ve just imagined Steve Bilenky.

Steve’s bikes are legendary utilitarian beasts. They are each purpose-designed, and meant to last a lifetime. Now you’ll hear that same durability line from just about every builder, but Bilenky’s bikes seem to breathe it. They strike a balanced pose, elegant but never pretty, old-school but up-to-date. These are by no means collector’s items to be hung on a wall. In fact, my suspicion is that Steve would put on his battle gear and hunt you down with his torch if you did so. These are satisfying bikes to look and to hold from a builder percolating in frame building history.

Steve: "These are personal tools… a tool that you use and that you live with that should also be pleasing."

Simon Berth (Bilenky Cycle Works):
Every hero needs a sidekick. Steve’s version, Simon Berth, furthers the Tolkien image by adding that solid U.K. accent, and a historical perspective to his motivation as a builder. This guy would fit in perfectly at the symposium!

Steve: “You’d see these T.V. shows, and it would be this guy who makes barrels or something like that, and it’s this dying art and its this eighty year-old guy knocking something together. I want to do something like that."