If you’re looking for custom bicycles, you’d need not look farther than Lynn.
Having rolled into the Lydia Pinkham building nearly two years ago, Jay Borden, the owner of Roulez Cycles, has been meeting the needs for customers, far and wide, who are seeking a ride they can call their own.
A former software entrepreneur in New Hampshire for 20 years, Borden learned the trade from Marty Walsh of Geek House bikes in Allston, who took him on as an apprentice for almost a month.
It was there in the Allston garage with a tig torch in hand welding a frame, where Borden began losing track of the time.
That is when he asked himself: “When was the last time I felt like this? Just completely immersed into something where I didn’t see the time go by and I was just thrilled and having fun.”
After learning the details of the art through Walsh and building more frames for more people after collecting the shop equipment of his own, Borden found himself en route to the boutique frame business he owns today.
Since starting the trek less than a decade ago, he’s bounced around from a few different locations. After getting pushed out of the Seaport District in Boston a few years ago, Borden found the Lydia Pinkham building in 2015.
After stepping into the building, he said the location has been ideal.
“It’s a cool building. There’s a cool community here. I love yoga and I have Chanelle at Soul City Yoga down the hall,” said the 59-year-old Boston resident who rides his bike into work almost every day. “And the only thing I love more than yoga is coffee and we have Lightning Coffee downstairs.”
The second story 850-square-foot space which he shares with his wife and sculptor Anyes Borden, gives him the room for his stock of equipments such as a nine-inch blade, a wheelbuilding station, an alignment table, a wheel building station and more.
At Roulez Borden can do it all. From assembling full bicycles to customizing the particulars like frames, forks, and wheels, everything is built from scratch.
Bicycle orders are made through by email inquiry through the email address on Roulezcycles.com. From there, Borden invites the customer in for measurements. Measurements are important, he said, going so far to measure not just the entire leg, but from foot to ankle, ankle to knee, the knee to waist, etc., for example, and then translating that into a design.
Borden also takes into account the intended uses for his rider. For example, he had one customer who needed a bicycle made to ride through Maine with the ability for her to store her easel and painting supplies when she was wheeling by the perfect scene.
Currently, he’s working on a steel-city commuter that functions as all terrain, too, he said.
Bicycles can take anywhere from three weeks to three months, he said. He usually completes half a dozen every year. It all depends on the order and the parts the customer desires.
That being said, the price of a bike varies. He’s made and sold bicycles ticketed between $2,500-3,000 to upwards of $10,000.
The big differences between pricing doesn’t come down to labor, he said, but the options and complexities they have.
“You can spend $100 on a pair of wheels or you can spend $3,000,” he said.
Still, his favorite part about the process is the customer’s first ride.
“It’s the look of the person when they come and try it for the first time,” he said. “Especially if it’s a person who has never ridden a custom bike. It’s like putting on a tailored suit. I can’t think of a better example than that. They take a ride around the block and they’ve just got this smile.”