NAPIER, Iowa – When he first started working at a bike shop Jeffery Bock thought he “….had died and gone to heaven.” That job and a love of riding led him to customize some of the top bikes available at the time. Wanting more, like cyclists do, he took his Campagnolo tool kit to the next level, sought out the advice of the experts at the time and built himself a touring bike bike from steel tubes and lugs.
Bock’s second build, for the friend who drove him to the Ames bike shop Bock’s mentor worked out of, legendary Michael’s Cyclery, was ridden across the US in 1976 as part of the bicentennial celebration. That bike is now in Bock’s shop.
47 years and over 300 bike builds later Bock still loves what he does. He has retired from his day job, teaching, and spends a lot of time in his Napier shop, surrounded by bike frames in progress or in need of repair or restoration. He let me visit as he built his wife Pat a randonneuring bike. From the original sketch to filing lugs and making custom bits and pieces, lots of brazing, and dealing with supply chain issues meant multiple shoots over nearly a year. Pat’s New Rando Bike isn’t done as I write this but contains the attention to detail that make Bock’s bike high on the “cool factor” scale. And yes, Jeff and Pat met as a result of his bike work.
Many name brand bikes are made with aluminum or carbon fiber frames. Bock’s steel bikes are still in demand; there is a short waiting list to get one built. Bock begins with a drawing and turns a box of tubes into a one-of-a-kind bike that is as durable and functional as it is eye-catching. Modern touches include generator hubs and LED lighting.
Bock has done frame building classes in the past and is considering doing more. If that happens you’ll learn about it on his Facebook page.