For the third year in a row, a Roanoke bicycle maker has been recognized for crafting some of the best handmade bikes on the planet.

Aaron Dykstra, owner of Six-Eleven Bicycle Co. (www.sixelevenbicycleco.com), last week won the Best Cyclocross Bicycle award at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. This follows his Rookie of the Year award in 2010 and Best Track Bicycle nod last year.

Dykstra’s company was inspired by and named after the 611 J-Class steam engine, built in Roanoke in 1950. At this year’s show in Sacramento, enthusiasts took notice of Dykstra’s nod to heritage and his town’s railroading history.
“American heritage is becoming popular overseas, and having a brand that proudly displays that heritage is getting noticed in the international market,” he said. Dykstra took two deposits for custom bicycles from Tokyo bike shop owners while at the show in Sacramento.

Dykstra’s custom steel cyclocross bike, built for a racer in North Carolina, features a handpainted finish of over 1500 tiny dots in variegated browns. The paint job, nick named “The Dottie”, was painstakingly applied by one of Virginia’s mountain biking pioneers, Dick Howard. In addition to the special finish, Dykstra included several personalized touches for the rider, including a custom engraved brass chainstay protector and an engraved brake stop detail, all done in-house with a refurbished 1962 New Hermes Pantograph machine.

“The growing bicycling community in the Roanoke Region of Virginia is immensely proud of Aaron and the company he’s built,” said Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “He has found global success with his talent and passion and, with our region’s low cost of doing business, supportive entrepreneurial environment and proximity to the outdoors, he’s at the forefront of bringing back made-in-the-USA bicycle quality and craftsmanship.”

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