Julie Ann Pedalino’s bikes are beautiful. Vibrantly-colored, with intricate detail work. When you learn her story, it’s no surprise. With a background of over ten years in the fine arts and graphic design business, she carries her creativity and love for panache over to her latest endeavor, bicycle framebuilding.
After developing a love for cycling and wrenching on bikes, and then spending considerable time mentoring under framebuilders Vincent Rodriguez and Doug Fattic, Julie began building her own frames three years ago. She does it on a part-time basis (while working as a graphic designer the rest of the time), and has built about 20 frames so far, all of which are fillet brazed steel.
Julie enjoys working with steel for a number of reasons. “First, and perhaps most importantly,” she says, ” I think the ride quality and buttery road feel of steel is unmatched!” The material also lends itself to creativity, is readily available and relatively inexpensive, and is fairly easy to machine.
She builds fit-focused bikes for all types of riders, but especially loves building for small people because she understands that it can be very hard to find a bike that fits if you’re under 5’3″ and a lot of bike companies make “undesirable design compromises in order to manufacture frames for the typical range of average riders.” She also loves working with proportional wheels sizes – so smaller wheels for smaller bikes. She’s made a number of road and cross bikes designed around 650 rather than 700c wheelsets.
“I really love working with clients to create a bike that they have a personal connection with and are inspired by,” Julie says. “I’m an artist, and it’s important to me to not only create beautiful things, but to create things that have an impact on my audience. While I love the traditional art media, it’s amazing to me that a bicycle has the possibility to become a truly transformative factor in a person’s life in a way that a drawing or painting is unlikely to do.”
One of Julie’s favorite bikes she’s ever built was one of her early works – a 650c road bike that was her first fancy lug bilaminate frame, built while still under the apprenticeship of Doug Fattic. “The process of building it really opened my eyes to the possibilities for creativity within frame building,” she says. She cut all the lugs by hand, so it was extremely time and labor intensive, and it’s a bike that fits her and she loves to ride, solidifying her connection with the work.
So what does the future hold for Julie Pedalino? She’d like to continue to explore the possibilities of CAD based design and CNC machining. She would also love to grow her business so that she can not only support herself, but also allow her to bring in talent and build an amazing team. “It’s always been my dream to create space, opportunity, and exposure for as many creative folks as possible!,” she says.
“Finally,” she concludes, “I want to make an impact and be an inspiration for other women who (like I was not too long ago) aren’t aware of or exposed to the fact that they can do this sort of thing, too! The more noise we make, the easier it to be to get the message out there that girls and women can not only participate in, but excel at engineering, machining, and metal fabrication.”
Find out more at www.pedalinobicycles.com.Tweet Print
One of my favorite encounters at the 2017 Philly Bike Expo was with Rody Walter of Groovy Cycleworks, both because of the fact that he makes cool bikes and because we share a special central Pennsylvania connection – I grew up in and still live in the area and it’s where Walter decided to become a custom framebuilder.
Walter fell in love with the concept of framebuilding when he commissioned his own custom bike from Bill Grove of Grove Innovations in the early 1990’s.
Disenchanted with the tandem options out there for himself and his wife, Walter decided that they would need to create their own machine capable of exploring the rough roads and trails the pair found themselves on. He contacted several custom framebuilders, finally landing on Grove. After months of phone calls and prototypes, Walter finally went to the Grove Innovations shop in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania to watch the final steps of the build process, and it changed his life. He became enamored with the idea of building his own bikes, so he asked Bill Grove if he could do an apprenticeship. After initial hesitation, Grove agreed.
Walter spent two years at Grove Innovations learning frame layout, mechanical engineering and design, tube mitering, Tig welding, brazing and painting. In 1994, Walter took these skills back to Ohio and started Groovy Cycleworks.
Today, Walter works in steel, aluminum and titanium and makes any and all types of bikes. Every bike is made to order, and he builds somewhere between 12 and 20 bikes a year, depending on the complexity of the projects. He doesn’t only build frames – he also makes custom stems, cranks and other accessories and components to tie each bike together perfectly. He loves doing intricate paint jobs and as he says, “a touch of whimsy.”
While he enjoys working on every bike he makes, his favorite projects are usually mountain bikes due to the challenge they present. Building a bike that is lightweight and aesthetically pleasing while also being strong enough to withstand the forces of riding rough terrain is not an easy endeavor. Walter gains a sense of satisfaction by working directly with each and every customer to assess his or her needs and building a bike that will meet them.
Rody’s personal bike, which he brought along to ride while at the Philly Bike Expo:
This bike was built for a customer to match his Volkswagon Bug, from the paint job to the curved lines to the intricate details:
And this custom all road bike is just beautiful:
This past weekend, thousands of bike enthusiasts converged on the PA Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, PA for the 2017 Philly Bike Expo, a gathering of bike companies, framebuilders, artists, organizations and other exhibitors representing over 150 brands. In addition to the expo, the event also features seminars and group rides for a full weekend of fun.
In the expo, it was great to see a strong presence of local framebuilders and artisans. As a Pennsylvania native, the east coast is near and dear to my heart and underrepresented at a lot of bigger shows. Some favorites included Engin Cycles, as native as native gets out of Philadelphia; Weaver Cycle Works from New Jersey; Groovy Cycleworks, now based in Ohio but with Pennsylvania roots; and Winter Bicycles, a transplant from Oregon to good ol’ central Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of some of these builders and more this upcoming week.
The expo was hopping both Saturday and Sunday with people of all ages and from all walks of life – middle-aged and older couples who had obviously ridden there, still clad in clipless shoes; families with kids; groups of cyclists of all styles, from racers to messengers to weekend warriors. Several local youth cycling programs were represented, including Cadence Youth Cycling (who recently published a post about the Youth Bike Summit on our site) and Neighborhood Bike Works, who provided a free bike valet indoor parking service all weekend for attendees of the Philly Bike Expo.
Seminars provided opportunities to learn about topics ranging from bike fitting and yoga to local trail projects and non-profits to bikepacking and how to use the bicycle as a tool for simplification. I attended the latter, a highly informative yet hilarious talk presented by Benedict Wheeler, better known as @ultraromance on the interwebs. He spoke about his own experiences with the bicycle, from exploring as a kid to racing to using it as a tool for transportation and then falling in love with exploration and going slow again. He then opened up the floor for discussion and questions about absolutely anything, from what hair products he uses (joke) to what he takes on long bike tours and how to find a good spot to camp along the side of the road.
Multiple organized group rides a day offered opportunities to get out an explore the city and its parks. There was a Brompton breakfast ride, a ride with the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Program, historical and art tours via bicycle, a cross ride and a morning “Coffee in the Woods” ride – something for everyone, no matter what type of riding you prefer.
This year, the Philly Bike Expo had a record year for vendors and attendees, and from what I saw, it only stands to grow. It’s a can’t-miss event for bicycle enthusiasts. You can find more general show info at www.phillybikeexpo.com and stay tuned for builder profiles and bicycle eye candy on our site later this week!Tweet Print