Fast Boy Cycles is a one man bicycle fabrication shop in Harlem, NYC, USA.
My name is Ezra Caldwell, and I’m the owner, designer, fabricator and janitor.
I started the business in 2007 after retiring from a 10 year career teaching dance.
I build one of a kind custom steel bicycles, and various wood accoutrements including fenders, handlebars, and crates. I am most interested in building WHOLE bikes, and the customers that I like the best are the ones that give me a pretty long leash. I like all types of bikes, especially those that get well ridden, but I specialize in bikes used for personal transportation and car replacement in urban environments.
I build steel bike frames. Steel is inexpensive, durable, and relative to some of the other good bike frame materials out there, it's very easy to work with. I don't love the feel or look of plastic and I usually try to use leather or wood in the places where plastic might otherwise show up.
The bike builders that I admire most are the ones who practice restraint. I try not to do things in a particular way simply because I can, but because I think that it’s the most beautiful and practical way. In a business where there is great pressure to distinguish yourself it can be hard to resist the urge to make striking or technically impressive design choices, but I try to ignore that urge.
The nicest things I've made have been in response to clear constraints. Simply heading to the shop to make something, anything at all, can inspire a kind of paralysis that writers have a name for. As a set of constraints, the bike itself is a pretty good start. It’s an elegant, beautiful design solution. But even there, even with the requirements of a frame and fork and two wheels, there turns out to be a lot of room for variation. It helps me to have a rider in mind. For me, the gears really get turning when I've got someone's personality, skeleton, and needs to work around. So I'm looking for riders. I want to make you a bike that is built to your likeness. Your bike portrait.
I believe in domestic manufacturing. I feel that this country loses a bit of its soul every time a factory closes and jobs are moved overseas. I have great admiration for small companies like Paul Components, White Industries, Chris King, Phil Wood, Enve, Thomson, and others, that make superior products domestically and supply people with meaningful rewarding jobs. I use these companies’ products whenever I get the chance.