Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry’s Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

A lot of customers looking for a professional-quality road bike won’t even consider a steel frame for a popular misconception that it is an outdated material. But it’s no antique, steel has stood the test of time and Garry’s new Spoon Customs proves it.

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

Andy Carr of Spoon Customs tells us the story: This a very special build for Garry. He’s a life long cyclist and waterski long jump champion. I’ve serviced almost every bike he owns and they’re all noteworthy machines, for their rarity or the uniqueness of the build.

He’s a proper collector, and that’s no surprise considering he’s recently retired from a long career as a high-end antique dealer. Every time he’d come to the shop he would turn up with something more interesting than the last bike and he’ll often just turn up with a frame and a box of parts and ask me to build it. Parlee’s, early Cervelo’s, a ti Reilly Cycleworks from local builder Mark Reilly, and my favourite, his prized Independent Fabrications build.

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

He’s been coming in the shop for a while and I’d text him if I had something fun coming through the shop so he could pop in and kick tyres. I had a feeling he might buy a bike for a while, but when he finally pulled the trigger, he already had a clear idea of what it should be.

This was going to be no slouch, but no hardcore racer either. Practicality over fanciness on the groupset, with external cables for no fuss. American supplied, to suit the theme. Finished with the best of the most unusual parts he’d encountered on his travels (and those travels are vast).

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

As an example, the fit data Garry supplied for our Italian steel frame wasn’t from the UK or Europe but Boston, from Firefly. He’d popped in to see them having heard about the brand, so had a fit in case he fancied one at some point in the future. That’s how he’d come by his Parlee too. He’d dropped into the factory once and asked if he could see Bob, loved what he saw, then snapped one up that he spotted in the back of Mosquito’s old shop in London.

The collecting doesn’t stop here though: The hubs you see here are the US brand Onyx — oversize and beautifully made, laced up with H Plus Son’s Hydra rims with enough spokes to tackle the nastiest of roads with no trouble.

I ordered an ENVE seat pin and stem to match the early ENVE handlebar he collected on another trip to the States.

And we brought in silver Chris King bearing-ware to compliment the ‘pop’ of the spokes, nipples, seat clamp and other details. We even matched the frame’s red details with the rail detail on the ti Pro Logo saddle to tie the Silca cages and custom graphics together.

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

As someone that deals in priceless goods, he knows the importance of provenance, so this was never going to be built with anything other than Columbus XCR. I knew from the start he’d want to pop in and expect the welds before it went to paint too.

Not to check them — he’d already taken the time to drop in and look at nearly every frame I’d put through the workshop in the time I’ve known him. He’s just got to see stuff, touch it, and make sure he understands it. More than anyone else I’ve worked with, he appreciates the process and wants to know what’s under the paint and where it all comes from.

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

For paint, he wanted something classic to match the traditional top tube geo. But not a classic bicycle, more a garage-build classic car — a hot rod finish to set the wheels and components off properly. He picked out a Jaguar F-Type metallic, which we paired with Ferrari Red and Olde English White on the decals, turned up to the contrasting outline you see here.

He is, after all, not just a collector of fine things, he’s also a long-distance waterski jumper. So this wasn’t just to be a gentleman’s bike made with the utmost consideration. We had to remember it was being built for a bit of a hooligan too. The result, I hope, is like a garage-built street sleeper on wire wheels hiding a big-block V8.

Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie

Lastly, and my favourite detail: ‘Seek the Adventure’ is Garry’s family motto, expertly painted here by Sam Weeks at Gun Control. The graphic was commissioned by us, designed by long term Spoon Customs collaborator and awesome typographer, James Worton at Midland Studio.

Editor’s note: Hopefully Garry won’t take offence at the Lovejoy reference, it’s simply humourous facetiousness.

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Light Speed Lovejoy: Garry's Spoon Customs Retro Roadie