While unlikely to ever make a dent in Rhode Island’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, there is a feel-good vibe being built by the growing number of custom-bicycle fabricators in Providence.
The industry of bespoke bikes is decidedly old school, with steel frames welded by hand that are built specifically for each customer. Bike makers take measurements, down to a person’s inseam, and deliver a finished product.
While a custom-frame bicycle costs significantly more than an off-the-rack bike, at anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, it still represents a discount on the latest high-tech, exotic material creations from large makers, which can cost from $5,000 to $8,000. And they have the added benefit of supporting a totally organically grown, local industry of committed artisans, yet another example of why Providence deserves the moniker, Creative Capital.
So as you consider what to get this holiday season for someone with very particular tastes, perhaps one of Providence’s most retro industries might provide an answer. •