All the Cordura® and Velcro® in the world can’t replace the sumptuous tactility of leather. Of course, those man-made materials have a place in situations when it is impractical and, occasionally, dangerous to rely on leather, which needs fastidious care to sustain an equal infallibility. Poland’s Bartosz Grabowicz crafts cycling accessories that exude a quality that Cordura® can only dream of.
There are numerous craftspeople around the world who have rediscovered the beauty of leatherwork and the authenticity they endow upon our beautiful bicycles. Australia’s Busyman Bicycles and Patebury spring to mind, and Bartosz obviously has skills that are of their equal. He recently restored a lovely ladies bike by Frera, one of the world’s oldest bicycle manufacturers, as a model for his wares.
Frera has been producing bicycles and motorcycles since 1905, setting them in the same realm as other Italian concerns who specialised in those areas, like Ducati, Bianchi and Aprilia. Their catalog is now filled with a eye-burning array of hydro-formed alloy frames and logos to match but Bartosz’ machine recaptures a more romantic era.
Found as a wreck, Bartosz re-chromed and painted the Columbus Aelle steel frame and rebuilt it with a selection of period parts, like Shimano’s 105 Golden Arrow groupset, Mavic Wheels, 3ttt and Stronglight. A custom stainless steel front rack is a perfect display for his hand-stitched bags, matched with a reupholstered San Marco Rolls saddle and leather grips.