i’ve always loved bicycles. my first real bike was a road bike: drop handlebars, aluminum frame, low resistance tires. it rode like sparks. i remember wanting to take it everywhere, from the local libraries to the yet untouched hills of orchards that lined the backdrop of home. for weeks, i even rode it to school, which meant a seven mile ride each way through brush-lined dirt paths and the darkened tunnels of highway underpasses. with a bike, it felt like my world had opened from the neat boundaries of community sidewalks into thundering asphalt lanes, the broad backlots of neighboring cities—all accessible, it seemed, with the wind against my back and a happy hum in my lungs.

after i left home, my dad sold my road bike, so earlier this year i decided to build my own bike from scratch. i only had a bit of experience from college bike co-op work, and even that was limited to fixing flats, tuning brakes, cleaning old sprockets. i also didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so i ended up waiting a good few months to plan the build, scouring craigslist and local bike shops for used or spare parts. i started following bike builders who were less racing-oriented and more interested practical builds—shops like blue lug, analog cycles, rivendell bikes.

along the way, i realized that i felt intimidated by the cycling community because so much of the culture revolves around track/road cycling bros and gearheads talking about parts i can’t afford… so i wanted to make a small space on this site for my bike related interests, which sometimes have to do with gear and technical stuff, but mostly have to do with things like infrastructure, commuting tips, fun builds, teaching friends how to fix their bikes. i'm still learning a lot about bike culture, and i hope this space will allow me to explore and connect with more folks on ways to build a better cycling world 🚲

A dithered photo of a customized bicycle propped up against a wall.

so, here's a breakdown of my first bike build! i thought it might be nice to record everything here for future reference, & for folks who might be interested in building or customizing their own bikes. i started planning the build in january of 2022 and accumulated parts from february through april. it was a pretty slow process, as i only worked on the bike when i had free time outside of my job. i bought the frame from a local secondhand bike org and most of the parts online, usually through craigslist or ebay.

this trek 1.0 is mostly finished: the one thing that i still want to change is the drivetrain. right now i'm running a singlespeed setup on the original cogset and chainrings that came with the frame; it's not ideal, and maybe messy, but i'm still a bit wary of taking apart the bottom bracket and want to make sure i have the right tools/knowledge to do it right. eventually, i'd like to have a clean singlespeed setup with a dedicated ss chainring + cog (will probably need a chain tensioner as well, since the frame has a vertical dropout).

the entire build cost just under $500—definitely a bit more expensive than i had planned, but pretty decent for a custom build with select quality parts. the frame price, which included its original wheelset and drivetrain, was $230. the other $270 went toward handlebars, grips and bar tape, brakes, tires, pedals, as well as some bottle cages. i was gifted the stem bags and rear rack. a lot of the custom parts came lightly used, which helped lower the budget. here's a detailed breakdown of the main parts and costs:

frame trek 830 mountain track xc (1997) $230
wheelset weinmann 519 alloy, 26 inch included with frame
tires simworks homage, 1.95" width set for $80 (retail: $68 each)
pedals mks sneakers (rms) set for $33
brakes dia-compe retro cantilever brake set for $60 (retail: $35 each)
stem nitto mt-11 riser quill, 120mm $20 (used)
handlebar nitto losco $40 (used)
saddle wtb silverado, steel $25 (used)

note: the list above doesn't include the price of tools. i was able to access a bike co-op that let folks use their equipment for a small $10 fee, though i did end up buying some specific tools such as cable cutters and a pedal wrench.

this 1.0 build was a balance between affordability and comfort. i wanted to make something that i would be excited to ride around regularly, something with enough character to feel different from a factory build. i got rid of the grip shifters that came with the frame (not a fan of grip shifts, and i don't really need multiple gears where i'm riding). the simworks tires were a steal, especially considering their selling price online: i was lucky enough to get in touch with someone locally who works on vintage mountain bike builds, and they had a few homage sets that they were willing to sell at a discount.

overall, i'm really happy with where this ended up, and i can't wait to tinker with it the further i ride!