Tucked away in the Space 4 Art building in Barrio Logan is a bike studio. Do bikes really need a studio? They do when they’re works of art. I don’t know what kind of bike you’re riding, but in comparison, it probably doesn’t compare. It’s doubtful that it’s a meticulously refurbished vintage Italian steel bike, custom-built from the frame up and resting on a branded wooden stand, perfectly parallel to well-organized wall of tools and vintage ephemera in an art studio. Because if it is, you are obviously Gabriel Salcedo from GS Cicleria.
Maybe you saw his stuff over at Frock You Vintage last weekend, or recently at mercantile (pop-up shop) put on by Set & Drift a few weeks ago at The Bakery. Maybe you went to the Space Invader Alley Cat Afterparty hosted by GS Cicleria on Saturday. Maybe you’ve even seen Gabriel handling your art purchases at Subtext Gallery. He’s all over the place these days.
The soft-spoken Conceiver, Wizard, and Captain (thank you, Thesaurus) of GS Cicleria showed me around his own Créatif Space recently. The space where bikes are custom-built and restored. Not just any bikes, though. The focus is European. Classic. Vintage. Steel. The bikes speak for themselves, but a Terrifique description can’t hurt, either.
The word “meticulous” keeps coming to mind. It’s the best word for Gabriel Salcedo and his studio. Everything is in order, everything carefully chosen. “I guess it’s like rideable art,” he says of his bikes. Indeed.
He pointed out all the little details in his collection of restoration works-in-progress hanging on the wall. “The Italian culture is all about passion,” he says, alluding to said passion carrying over into the craftsmanship of a couple of particularly sweet-looking Italian bikes. The frames, the ornamentation, the painted details, the decals, the stories behind the frame builders. You don’t normally look at bicycles with romanticism, but you would if you were in Gabriel’s studio.
Handmade, custom, and special attention to detail are core principles in the GS Cicleria working philosophy. Contrary to his shy demeanor, Gabriel is a pretty ambitious guy, and he not only refurbishes bicycles (meticulously) but also designs vintage-inspired accessories (also very meticulously). There’s a table with fabric, a ruler, and a leather belt where he designs accessories meant to compliment the bikes. Vintage fabric, vintage belts – his designs are minimalist, thoughtful and classic; in keeping with everything else at GS Cicleria. He gets the bags produced in limited quantities to sell. “It’s a passion, I’m not just trying to make 10,000 bags in China to see how much money we can make.” Gabriel thinks smaller is better, and it seems to be working for him.
He’s also a collector of vintage furniture and ephemera (imagine that!) and so as to not end up on an episode of Hoarders, has recently started selling his goods with his newest venture, The Vintage Scout. He’s hoping to open up shop someday — merging all of his built, designed, and found pieces. “What do you think?” he asks me about his shop idea. What do I think? I think I’d shop there.
Anybody who cares this much about what they do, and does it with integrity (and skill) has got my business.
These bicycles-as-art are pretty to look at, but they’re also functional. “I ride all my bikes. I don’t feel like they should be hanging on the wall. Bikes are meant to be ridden.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.