Slovakia looks like a nice country to ride around in. Arko Bici is the workshop of Marek Parajka, situated at the base of the Little Carpathian mountains. It’s far removed from the Terminator world of Peter Sagan, but I’d prefer to explore it on Marek’s Randonneur.
Marek Parajka grew up in a workshop, surrounded by the efforts of his father and grandfather. Working with steel runs through his blood, and due to his love for cycling, framebuilding and working with steel bikes was a natural evolution.
Marek has been restoring and working with old road bikes since 2009, finding the creative solace and release that is common to those of us who pursue the same. From working with steel and lending his hand to frame repairs, Arko Bici was born in 2012.
He’s built quite a few frames since then, mainly of the 700c variety. There’s been a few road frames, a mixte and a cyclocross bike. His latest however — the Signature Randonneur — demonstrates that Marko is hitting his stride.
A qualified welder, steel worker and machinist, Marko has fabricated many bespoke racks and stems, skills which he put into use for this rando. That stem is sublime, incorporating a Slovak koruna, Slovakia’s currency before it adopted the Euro in 2009.
Marek built this frame using Reynolds tubing and mirror-polished Inox lugs. The text on the seat stay badge bears the words Surge Et Ambula, which appears on The Colonnade Bridge over the Váh River and literally means Rise and Go.
A Campagnolo gruppo befits the classic nature of the Arko Bici Signature Randonneur; in this case, 11-speed Veloce and a Record headset, topped with a Brooks Cambium saddle, and Grand Bois Hetre tires. Quite the Carpathian cruiser.