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Art of making handmade bicycles (custom tailored in NorCal)

Jeremy Sycip was in art school when he first started thinking about making his own bikes. “I was into riding so I rode my bike a lot. A bunch of friends were racing and I was like you know what I don’t race, I’m not competitive at all and I like working with my hands so I started calling around to different bike companies and I found a guy in Santa Cruz (Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster) and he kind of took me in.”

SyCip dropped out of art school and started building frames and finally opened his own shop, SyCip Bikes. In the nearly 23 years since he began crafting cycles, he estimates he’s built a couple thousand bikes.

The process begins with an interview, asking clients what they are looking for in a bike and how they ride. Then, like a fitting for a custom suit, SyCip meticulously measures his clients and evaluates them on a sizing cycle. He enters the specs in a CAD program and creates a blueprint before he begins the cutting and welding: the stuff he loves.

His bikes range from racing cycles to more specialty rides. Hanging in his shop, there’s a full-frame bike with couplings so the frame breaks in half and fits in a standard suitcase to avoid oversize baggage fees while flying. At his home office, he’s finishing up a cargo bike for a woman, her groceries and dog. One of his personal favorites is his BBQ bike: fit with a cutting board, carving knife, bottle opener and a propane BBQ.

SyCip Bikes will never be “The fact that you can build something that’s useable, that’s functional, that’s actually functional. It’s like making art that people can actually ride and use it. It’s a big deal to me.”