by Paul Guerra
On March 20th, Petaluma frame builder Soulcraft and Una Pizza Napoletana hosted ‘A Ruota Libera’ in San Francisco.
A Ruota Libera, Italian for “Freewheeling,” was an intimate gathering of frame builders and Bay Area custom bicycle aficionados in Napoletana’s space and spilling out into the street.
Anthony Mangieri, owner of Una Pizza Napoletana, is an avid cyclist and owner of several custom made bicycles, and together with Sean Walling, owner and frame builder behind Soulcraft Cycles, wanted to celebrate the shared craftsmanship of artisan edibles and bicycle frames.
“The frame building talent we have within a 50 mile radius is an embarrassment of riches, and Anthony has the same obsessive approach to pizza that we have to bikes, so why not get together and give the locals the opportunity to experience this all in one place.” said Walling about the creation of the event.
Well-known builders as Rock Lobster, Ventana, Bruce Gordon, Steve Potts, Rick Hunter, Caletti and White Industries were showcasing their work while live music by the band ‘The Mattson 2″ set the ambiance.
With some local builders skipping the larger NAHBS custom bike show in Austin Texas, A Ruota Libera was an opportunity to still showcase their work and mingle with their peers.
The bikes were arranged around a compact room with a giant brick pizza oven commanding the center place, the band playing between the oven and the kitchen and the builders mingling with the fans, talking bikes over bottles of Italian beer. All manner of frames were represented from racing bikes to cargo bikes, with an assortment of everything else mixed in.
One bike that particularly caught our eye was the custom titanium-lugged carbon creation from Bruce Gordon. The do-it-all 26″ drop bar bike was a one-off version of the Rock N’ Road bike that has made Bruce Gordon famous. In addition to carbon tubes and titanium lugs, the bike featured a custom titanium stem, titanium front rack, and a machined titanium version of his cantilever brakes. The bike was made for a past San Diego Handmade Bicycle Show, in tandem with Mike Lopez of Serotta. Got your eyes on one for your quiver? You may die before you get off the waitlist as Gordon plans to create just two more – one for himself and one for Lopez.
Here are some pics of interest to the cyclocrossers out there: