116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Cycling aficionados will honor an under-the-radar but highly regarded custom bike builder who died on RAGBRAI last year, in conjunction with the announcement of this year's bike ride across Iowa route.
The Teesdale Handbuilt Bike Show remembering Tom Teesdale, of West Branch, is part of the Iowa Bike Expo on Saturday. The expo will be followed by a route announcement party Saturday night, both at the Iowa Events Center Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
'The next Tom Teesdale is out there, and we hope he or she comes to Iowa to build fantastic bikes,” said Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and organizer of the expo.
Teesdale, 63, had a heart attack while riding on RAGBRAI in northwest Iowa in July and later died in an Emmetsburg hospital.
Teesdale was internationally known for building early model mountain bikes, as well as racing and touring bikes, for national brands such as Kona and Gary Fisher. Later, the craftsman focused on his own Tom Teesdale custom, hand-built bikes from TET Cycles, his small shop in West Branch.
'He was quiet, but an artisan building some of the best bikes in the world, in our backyard,” Wyatt said.
Since RAGBRAI began celebrating the announcement of the multiday ride's overnight towns, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition has organized the Iowa Bike Expo earlier in the day. RAGBRAI XLIII is July 19-25.
The events have grown and gained traction as one of the annual landmarks for cyclists around the state and beyond, which made it an ideal opportunity to remember Teesdale and draw attention to his passion, Wyatt said.
The niche of hand-built bikes is a growing movement in many states, and Wyatt said he hopes to incubate the industry in Iowa.
The bike show will have seven or eight custom-bike builders with displays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Awards for people's choice and builder's choice for their favorite bikes will be given at 4:30 p.m.
Steve McGuire, a University of Iowa professor of 3D design and metal arts, worked closely with Teesdale in launching a hand-built bicycle program for students. He had been speaking with Wyatt about the potential for highlighting the craft of hand-built bikes through the expo before Teesdale died.
'I think that it is important for Tom's legacy and his family to see that Tom gets the kind of recognition and attention he has actually deserved for decades,” McGuire said.
Six UI engineering and art students will display bikes at the expo Saturday, including the last steel lugged frame Teesdale made with students, McGuire said. McGuire described the allure of a custom-built bike, saying it is customized to the rider's arms and legs, style and frequency of rides, and other preferences.
'When you get on a bicycle that is built for your body, you sometimes feel like not until that moment have you ever really ridden a bike,” McGuire said.
The free expo will features 146 vendor spaces showing off bikes, gear, events and destinations. The RAGBRAI announcement party begins at 8 p.m., with tickets costing $55.