June 11, 2021
President Joe Biden made his first overseas trip this week to the United Kingdom, where he linked up with Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay.
Foreign leaders often exchange customary gifts to greet one another and build a personal connection while they attempt to tackle global issues.
For Biden, that meant turning to a North Philadelphia bike shop to have a custom touring bicycle and helmet made for Johnson, an avid cyclist.
Philly Bike Expo shared a post about the gift, which was made at Bilenky Cycle Works in Olney.
You may have seen that President Biden gifted the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, an American made bicycle today....Posted by Philly Bike Expo on Thursday, June 10, 2021
The shop at 5319 N. Second St. is run by Stephen Bilenky, whose handmade bicycles range from road bikes and touring bikes to tandem bikes, cargo bikes and commuter bikes. Bilenky, a Philadelphia native, began building bike frames professionally in 1983. He started out working with Jim Gittens, an English bike builder from Birmingham.
For Johnson, Biden ordered a Sterling Metro 5, the original model Bilenky developed to launch his bike-building career. The shop shared photos of the bike on Facebook, showing its blue frame with design elements from the American and British flags. The helmet Johnson received depicts the two nations' flags with their staffs crossed.
The bike was made on a budget of $6,000 in less than two weeks, the Inquirer reported.
In exchange for the bike, Johnson gave Biden a framed photo of a British mural depicting abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Biden, Johnson and other world leaders began their G7 meetings Friday to discuss international trade and the ongoing global recovery and response to the coronavirus pandemic.