Most people look at a bicycle and see a mode of transportation.
But for Alexis Dold, a bike frame is a work of art.
“It’s more than real art,” he said. “It’s something substantial.”
Dold is the man behind Villin Cycle Works, Inc., and if you’ve got the money, he can make you a custom bike.
His love for bikes goes back to his childhood.
He started racing at 6 years old with dreams of one day riding around the world with no hands.
Throughout his years, he’s had other loves, like surfing and DJ-ing.
He moved to San Francisco in the 1990s and was signed to a record label for his music mixing talents.
But after the label tanked and his motives for staying became blurred, he followed a girl to Gainesville.
There, his love for biking came back to the forefront.
In 2000, he bought Bikes and More on Northwest 6th Street. While there, he began teaching himself how to build bike frames and started Villin Cycles on the side.
He said he named it after Gainesville, the city that “taught him how to love.”
It took a few tries before he got his skill level right.
“My first one is a joke and I was so proud of it,” he said of the red-and-black spray-painted monster with the duct tape Villin Cycle logo.
But he began to hone his craft.
At first, Dold just gave his frames away, but then he started charging $15 more with each frame.
Now, a basic frame from Dold goes for $2,300.
His specialty frames, Dold said, come enhanced with techniques only he can produce.
“Basically what I’m trying to do is make something simple be as badass as possible,” he said. “I’ve made them more than bicycles deliberately.”
He’s expanded his business through the years to include painting bikes as a means to have more control over the final product.
But Dold doesn’t see himself expanding much more than that.
“It’s not worth it to me because the bigger you get, you have to sacrifice everything the business is in small increments,” he said. “You’re doing everything for the bottom line eventually as opposed to why you got into it.”
Orders for a Villin Cycle can be placed through his website at villincycleworks.com, but there’s a wait of about 25 months before you’ll see the final product.
But the final product, he said, is worth the wait.
“It does not end after the frame is finished,” he said. “It continues with the rider.”