There’s a special corner of Hell reserved for bike thieves. This randonneur by Iowa’s Jeff Bock was a replacement for a customer’s bike that was stolen and later recovered, proving that some clouds have… an argyle lining.
Back in 2016, Jeff was conducting frame building classes and one of his students, Carl, sweated over the details of — and built — what must have been a magnificent 1×10-speed tourer, complete with a custom chain guard.
Carl’s son, a graphic artist, created graphics based on his father’s signature for the down tube and even a headtube badge for it. It featured a motif based on a pin oak, reminding Carl of the trees he planted on his father’s property.
Jeff painted the frame a spellbinding metallic jade green with a black head and seat tube, adding double box lined accents in red and tan. Subsequently, Carl named his treasured bike ‘Jade’.
Then disaster struck: in September last year, Carl’s garage was broken into and thieves made off with three bikes —including Jade. The other two bikes were fairly generic, but the hope was that Jade was more easily spotted in a crowd and would be recovered.
By January Carl gave up hope and didn’t have time to build another, so commissioned Jeff to build this bike. It’s almost a copy with some modifications: the drivetrain gained another front chainring and the tyre clearances jumped from 700x32mm to 700x38mm.
Jeff built the main triangle with Columbus Life for Lugs tubing, while the rear end is a mix of Columbus SLand True Temper Super Therm — which the fork is also built from. MAP’s Mitch Pryor supplied the rear dropouts and Andy Newlands at Torch & File in Portland, Oregon supplied the fork crown (it’s his proprietary design cast by Long Shen).
Jeff carved back the lugs, a fairly basic set from Nova and Canada’s Vélocolour made the head badges for both bikes. When it came to painting Carl also wanted a change so the double box lining was foregone in favour of a dashing argyle pattern on the seat tube.
Jeff was applying the clear coat when he got a call from a Sergeant with the Iowa Highway Patrol. Their storage facility was filling up and some unclaimed items were to be discarded or donated — including Jade, which had been found on Iowa State Capital grounds in Des Moines. It was returned to Carl, thanks to a ‘Handmade In Napier, Iowa’ stencil on the chainstay.
Get in touch with Jeff via his Facebook page.
Special thanks to Christopher Maharry for the photos.