These days, most high-end bike frames are made of carbon fiber. They’re light, they’re strong and they’re a great way to go. Still, for many discriminating riders (myself included), here is NOTHING finer than a steel or titanium frame that’s been lovingly handcrafted by a skilled artisan. Like carbon fiber frames, they’re light, and strong. Unlike most carbon fiber frames, they’re built to suit the specific needs and wants of an individual rider, and they’re built to last a lifetime. They’ve also got something no mass-produced piece of space age technology will never have: character.
Ron Sutphin is the owner of the United Bicycle Institute, which is the trade school here in Ashland (and now also in Portland) that has produced some of the best mechanics and frame builders in the business. Back in his days working with Trek, Cycle Oregon’s very own Jerry Norquist used to guest lecture at the UBI about the retail aspect of the bicycle business.
To commemorate a friendship spanning more than 30 years, his great work leading the team that puts on the epic event that is Cycle Oregon, and his many contributions as a cycling advocate, Ron created a very special 25th anniversary bike for Jerry. The beautiful paint job was done by Keith Anderson (also of UBI), who can be seen in the bottom photo on the right).
To raise money for the Community Cycling Center, Ron will build a similar mount for the lucky winner of a raffle that is taking place here at Cycle Oregon. The drawing is tonight, so if you haven’t found your way to the CCC tent yet, you had better get moving. And, if you don’t happen to be here and want a ticket it’s high time you reach out to one of your buddies who’s here.
There has also been talk of 23 more of these bikes – built by a few different Oregon-based master frame builders – could come to fruition. If you think that’s something that needs to happen, let your opinion be known.