Andy and Sandi’s Handmade Bilenky Touring Tandem

At the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, Andy and Sandi Bezanilla arrived to meet their brand new tandem touring bike.

A pair of proud “Bike Show Groupies,” Andy and Sandi Bezanilla arrived in Charlotte, NC, not only to check out the bikes and builders at the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), but to meet their new, custom ride.

The couple from Dunedin, FL, was drawn to handmade bikes by the many custom options available. “Sandi is petite and a very hard fit,” said Andy. The pair’s first custom bikes were a set of Marty Walsh’s Geekhouse Woodville single-speeds from the Boston-based bike builder. “We went up and met with Marty in October 2009 to be measured and finally got out on them October 2010, just in time for a wonderful ride at Mount Dora’s annual cycling event.”

Since then, the Bezanillas have attended five NAHBS. “We love to support the handmade bike builders,” said Sandi. “Every year there are so many new ideas, bikes, and builders. We have met so many wonderful people and made a lot of friends and contacts.” And at this latest show, the couple was there to pick up a custom tandem bike.

“We had seen one of Bilenky’s [tandems] at the Richmond show and thought since we really want to tour and camp, that was the best way to go,” said Sandi. “This gives us a twin engine with only two tires to worry about and full racks to carry all the gear. Not to mention we ride very similar, but I seem to be lagging behind sometimes. Problem solved!”

The tandem, built by Bilenky Cycle Works based in Philadelphia, PA, features S&S couplers allowing the frame to be disassembled for travel and includes full racks to support a set of Swift Industries bags. “Probably first and foremost is the incredible framework,” said Sandi about what they liked most about the tandem. “It looks like a fish, a Hot Rod fish that is. Which works since we both spend a great deal of time on the water paddling, surfing, etcetera.”

“Locally, we live in one of the best counties for trail systems,” added Sandi on where they are going to ride first on the new tandem. “We can easily go out our door and ride down to one of the many craft brewers from Dunedin to St. Petersburg. We can also head north and hit a few more of our favorite watering holes in Tarpon Springs. We are pleased they are working to connect all the trails in the area. From town to country, to the beaches, need we say more!”

When asked where else the couple plans to take their new travel-ready tandem, I’m told, “We hope to go on many long excursions all over the US and Canada. Probably the first trip will be to Maine (the county) with great long rolling hills through farm country. One day, hopefully overseas, but we have a lot of territory to cover right here in North America.”

For those considering their own handmade bike, Sandi offered, “Custom-built bikes can be addictive, but building human-powered Hot Rods is still cheaper than building an automotive Hot Rod. Not to mention it keeps our physical motors running strong. I’d much rather fuel up on burgers and beer than petrol.”

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