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:
We’re headed to the Philly Bike Expo this coming weekend!
The 2017 Philly Bike Expo is taking place November 4-5 at the PA Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. Come by the show and check out over 150 exhibitors, including Bicycle Times/Dirt Rag.
We’ll have swag and merchandise for sale at our booth, including a selection of t-shirts, stainless pints, mugs, socks and of course stickers.
Can’t make the show? Stay tuned for our favorite findings and eye candy right here on our website throughout the weekend and next week, and follow @bicycletimes on Instagram for all the fun!
The second annual Bikeout will take place September 9-10, 2017 in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This overnight cycling adventure aims to bring together riders, make bikepacking accessible and showcase the natural and civic resources surrounding Philadelphia.
The 38-mile ride starts near the Philadelphia Art Museum and utilizes the paved Schuylkill River Trail and as well as some back roads to get to Sankanac CSA, a 15-acre farm just outside of Phoenixville. Riders will camp at the farm and enjoy a farm-to-table meal, craft beer, live music and more. Morning will bring a farm-sourced breakfast, bike mechanic workshop, yoga, organized bike tour of the surrounding area and more before heading back to the city.
This ride is designed for anyone from experienced cyclists looking to meet people and enjoy a fun weekend to newbies looking for a challenging, yet attainable, experience. Organizers hope that this ride will introduce more of the local community to bike touring, which has been emerging in urban centers as more bicycle commuters search their region for new, farther places to go without a car.
Last year, this ride sold out in just under four hours and brought together 125 riders. This year, Bikeout organizers are doubling the cap due to the popularity of the event.
Tickets go on sale on July 12 at noon and are $100 for a standard ticket and $110 if you would like your camping gear transported to the farm for you. Head on over to bikeoutphl.com for more info.
Philadelphia isn’t widely known as a “bicycle town,” and it can’t boast the kind of bicycle-friendly infrastructure that is popping up in larger cities like New York or Los Angeles. But according to Census figures it also has the highest percentage of bike use of any large U.S. city. So why is that? This short film from Streetfilms takes a look:Tweet Print
Philadelphia launched its new bike share program today and all across the city residents will realize just how easy it is to get from A to B by bicycle. But what if you’re suddenly inspired to hop on board but you don’t have a helmet? Nutcase Helmets has partnered with the Uber driver service to provided delivered, on-demand helmets via the Uber app.
Each rider who requests one of the new Nutcase Metroride helmets today will make a donation of $10 to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, with Uber kicking in a matching $10 donation. The Metroride is Nutcase’s new commuter helmet with a nifty Fidlock closure, removable visor, reflective straps and a super adjustable, one-size-fits-all closure. It’s available in a huge array of colors and designs, though only the classic grey and black version will be available via Uber. It retails for $80.
Requests are limited to two helmets per request and will be available until 4 p.m. or as supplies last.
What has become one of our favorite events of the year, the Philly Bike Expo returns for its fifth year on November 8 and 9. The premier East Coast bicycling event will once again be held at Philadelphia’s premier event venue.
“Since moving to the Pennsylvania Convention Center last year we exceeded all our previous records of attendance, buzz, and participation,” says show organizer Bina Bilenky Trahan. “The 2014 Expo is shaping up to be even bigger and better.”
The Philly Bike Expo is designed to interest, inspire, and inform bicycle aficionados, weekend enthusiasts and those merely curious about the fun and fitness awaiting on two wheels. Artisans and manufacturers of bicycles, accessories and apparel display their latest products. Although many exhibitors have been at the Expo since the beginning, new ones keep coming on board. The Philly Bike Expo has also become the place for young companies to showcase for the first time anywhere.
The show features more than 125 exhibitors, bike fitting seminars, presentations, how-to’s and family-friendly activities, repair and maintenance clinics, food and drink, indoor test rides, races and after-parties round out this two-day festival of bicycle culture.
One special session will be a presentation by Erick Cedeno, the “Bicycle Nomad”, who toured by bike via the Underground Railroad route from New Orleans to Niagra Falls, New York. Cedeno based his course on a trip developed by the Adventure Cycling Association, that maps directions from a slave song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”
Bicycle Times will also be on hand with booth offering merchandise, subscriptions and a chance to meet some of the staff. We have some awesome Continental tires to give away too. For each year of new or renewing subscription, you’ll get a Super Sport or Touring Plus tire. Supplies are limited so get there early!Tweet Print