The Gunnison Valley is a gold mine for old bikes — vintage Schwinns, beat-up clunkers and townies of all types. And by the look of them, you know these bikes have been places.
Bikes today, on the other hand, are lighter, safer and more adaptable. And, yet, the sense of nostalgia for the older models never fades.
Gunnison native Arly Landry and her partner Chris Besnia combined the best of both worlds with their latest business venture, Goodday Bikes and Curiosity Bags.
Goodday Bikes and Curiosity Bags aims to be a one-of-a-kind business that makes artistic, handmade and custom bike and bag systems for bikepacking of all types — including randonneuring, road, gravel and mountain.
“We want to start a culture that not only values and supports artists and craftsmen, but also provides a sustainable way of recreation,” explained Landry.
Besnia has been a bike mechanic for more than a decade and attended the United Bicycle Institute in Asheville, Ore. Landry graduated from Gunnison High School in 2010 and studied environmental science at Westminster
College in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The couple has remained in Salt Lake City, but over the last few years they began shaping steel and sewing matching bags for a more custom approach to biking. Seduced by the simple, economic way to travel, Landry and Besnia began experimenting — making bikes for themselves and their friends.
Before long, the biking duo had developed a dreamy combination of bikes that captured the beauty of flowing lines while also utilizing modern technology.
“There’s no artistry or craftsmanship in bikes anymore,” explained Landry. “There’s so many techniques we’ve abandoned in favor of mass production.”
After a customer decides what type of frame would work best, there’s the option to purchase bags and other components from the company to deck out their personalized bike.
Landry, who has made several bike trips across the country in the last decade, said she has gone through at least 20 bike bags.
“But if you think of bike gear, what does it look like?” posed Landry. “It’s made of vinyl and it’s bright yellow.”
After Besnia has built the custom frame, Landry brings her sewing skills to the table. Each bag is fit to each individual bike, but unlike the stereotypical, flashy reflective bags often found in shops, Landry offers a variety of patterns ranging from Hawaiian to other funky retro prints.
handcrafted bike has through axles, updated geometry and butted chromoly tubing. The
bike bags to match are made with polyurethane-coated polyester canvas that is incredibly durable and waterproof.
On top of fun colors and patterns, Landry even sews special designs such as columbine flowers, blue-bells or birds — the sky’s the limit, and that’s part of the fun of the customized element.
As for the aesthetic, think of the older randonneuring bikes from France at the turn of the century, said Landry.
“No one would make anything that was purely functional,” said Landry of bikes back in the day. “Everything should be that beautiful, and nothing should be mass produced.”
The uniqueness of the business model is allowing people to build an entire touring or bikepacking setup from start to finish. However, unlike most bikes which can be wheeled out of the store, these handcrafted bikes take time.
For Besnia to build a complete frame takes about 40 hours. Then bags — which could be a seat bag, frame bag or a full bikepacking package — are added with whichever pattern is preferred.
“We are ready to take the next step by making these rigs available to the world and making this business our full-time occupation,” said Landry.
When the duo isn't sewing and welding, they are pursuing all sorts of human-powered adventure, including backcountry skiing, bikepacking and randonneuring on the Colorado Plateau.
Landry says that when you’re on a bike, the possibilities are endless. You can meet new people and experience the landscape. And how you go about it is totally up to the user. That
may include challenging yourself on a long
tour or steep
trail, or keeping it casual by biking through town.
“We’d like to think this is something you’ll have for the rest of your life,” said Landry. “They’re meant to be timeless.”
To learn more about building a custom bike or to lend a hand in the business’ growth, visit kickstarter.com and search “Goodday Bikes + Curiosity Bags.”
(Kate Gienapp can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org)