In the study of martial arts, the title of sensei literally translates as ‘one who was born before’ but doesn’t necessarily refer to physical age. Tommy has been working with Chris Bishop for the past few years as a master’s apprentice and would probably refer to him as a sensei, so Chris built him this frame as part payment and part thanks.
Chris started Bishop Bikes in 2007 and, having refined his craft and reputation and deservedly winning numerous awards at numerous North American Handmade Bicycle Shows, required a rookie to help with packing, polishing and building. If you’ve admired any aspect of Chris’ work you’d probably be happy with a Bishop all of your own as payment too.
Tommy, however, didn’t just take the bike and ride off with it. He also studied frame finishing and painting at Pennsylvania’s Fresh Frame and painted the frame himself, detailing the highlights of Chris’ handiwork around the head tube and rear brake bridge. Tommy has been riding his new Bishop, designed around 28c tires, every chance he gets.
Most of us can think of someone we have worked or cycled with, who has inspired us to learn or experience more, or ride further, faster or higher. But even those who push us could probably think of others who have played a similar role in their lives. so the circle of learning keeps turning. Here’s to Tommy going on to pass his knowledge on to others in the future.
Special thanks to Keith Trotta for the photography.