The world’s best professional cyclists have started to descend on South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide in preparation for the Santos Tour Down Under — the first leg of the UCI World Tour. The six stage race will take the riders around the hills of Adelaide and is an exceptionally hot start to the pro tour calendar.
One man who knows those hills very well, and has the common sense to ride over them at a more leisurely pace, is Sam Neeft, proprietor of Adelaide’s best little bike shop, Treadly. One of South Australia’s few frame builders, James Alderson of Rogers Bespoke, built Sam a new hilly tourer last year, painted in the shop’s colours.
It’s only a few months old, but Sam had already put a few thousand kilometres on the clock before James could photograph it. It should be nicely ridden in by now, and looks resplendent in the ochre orange and grey corporate colours, highlighted by the brushed stainless steel lugs.
The brief was for a traditional all-rounder, which James successfully answered with a Columbus-tubed frame, custom stem and forks with all the braze-ons, rack mounts for touring and clearance for fenders. Needless to say, Sam loves it, and offered the following story as evidence:
“Ebenezer Place (where Treadly is located) has been likened to Ramsay St, for the fact that everyone knows everyone and all of their business. Customers at Treadly become friends quite quickly, as most just have a love for bicycles.”
“So when a fella walks through to door a few times, conversation starts, and soon you find out he’s a frame builder, he becomes a good mate! Not so much because you want him for his skills, (that came later) but there aren’t many — if any — frame builders in Adelaide with the passion that JR has from Rogers Bespoke.”
“You chat, throw ideas around, ride and of course this involves a few beverages to lubricant the amount of dribble said within the walls of a bike shop. Natural progression kicks in: “So, want to build me a bike?” “Ok.” It’s as easy as that.”
“Like most, you dream of a custom built bicycle, but who to choose? Well, when it’s supporting a local, it’s a mate and he already knows what you want built… it’s easy to choose.”
“I could talk about the bike, its materials and its components, but to me that’s not what it’s about. I don’t think I would have gotten a custom bicycle unless it was someone I knew and vice versa. I believe it has more character and personality because JR is a friend, and I’m not just a customer.”
“At first he didn’t fully understand the type of bike I wanted. I don’t think I fully knew what I was getting, but there was an unspoken understanding, which led to the bike I had always dreamt of.”
“N-1 sums it up the best. This is my N, and the -1 are the bikes I sold for one that will do everything. So far I don’t need N+1: JR’s build hasn’t stopped me from going to all the places I want to go. Bitumen, dirt roads, gravel, fire tracks, beach, a couple of single tracks and A to B. Rain, hail or shine.”
If you’re heading to Adelaide for the TDU, make sure you stop by Ebenezer Place on Sunday the 25th of January, which will be closed especially for a Swap Meet, hosted by Treadly. The latest bikes by Rogers Bespoke will be on display, as well as many local and interstate sellers (if you’d like to set up a stall yourself, email Sam).