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State Department jumps the waitlist for a custom Bilenky for Boris Johnson

Published June 11, 2021

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — Philly framebuilder Steve Bilenky fulfilled a special order for a custom bike in under two weeks recently — a far cry from his usual two-year waiting list for custom frames. This time the customer was the U.S. State Department Office of Diplomatic Gifts.

President Joe Biden presented the bike to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week at the opening of the G7 conference.

Bilenky said when he first got the order, the State Department didn't tell him what foreign dignitary would receive the bike, but he got a hint when he learned the color scheme was to be red, white and blue and the intended recipient was 5 foot 8.

Putting everything else aside and working 14-hour days, Bilenky and his two-man team created the bike in a week and delivered it to Washington, DC, last Friday in time for the President's trip overseas.

The State Department said it had only a $1,500 budget for the gift, far below Bilenky's normal price for a custom frame.

The bike was outfitted with as many U.S.-made parts as possible:

Bilenky also custom painted a helmet provided by Bern.

Photos courtesy of Bilenky.

The headbadge was custom made by Jen Green of Philadelphia's Revolution Cycle Jewelry.

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