Joe Bike

Bikes at Work: Boyd Littell’s Franken-Klein for speedy deliveries

Posted by on January 12th, 2016 at 1:07 pm

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Boyd Littell’s work bike.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I’m always on the lookout for interesting bikes and the interesting people who ride them.

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Courier/bag-maker/musician Boyd Littell.

Working downtown I see all types of cool machines and every once in a while I’ll strike up a chat with the person who owns them. Last week after I stopped into the Stumptown Coffee on SW 3rd (a frequent hang-out for bike messengers), a white bike caught my eye. When I went to take a closer look I met its owner, 38-year-old Boyd Littell.

Boyd works as a courier for two companies: Postmates and GO Box. He moved here last summer from Oklahoma, lured by the promise of the romantic life of a professional bike messenger. “It’s not exactly lucrative,” he said, “But it’s a lot of freedom.” Boyd takes advantage of that freedom by spending his non-work time as a musician. He plays drums in the band, ADDverse Effects, which just played a gig last night at the White Eagle Saloon.

Boyd has never owned a car. Before coming to Portland he lived in Oklahoma City where he said there wasn’t much of a bike scene. The bike he uses for work now was just a commuter bike in Oklahoma because, he said, “The only courier work there was [sandwich chain] Jimmy Johns.”

Speaking of his bike, it’s a looker. Part sleek, time-trial racing machine, part cargo-bike, Boyd admits it’s unusual. “It was really normal when I first got it eight years ago.” The tri-spoke wheels are perhaps its most striking feature. Boyd bought them after coming into an inheritance. “It’s the only time I’ve ever splurged on nice, racey shit,” he told me. Also competing for my attention were the F.U.B.A.R. leather toe straps, chain-link cuff locks, downtube shifters, air-horn taped to the handlebars, and front cargo bin.

There’s just something about the utility, speed, and personality of messenger bikes that I can’t get enough of.

Here are a few more pics…

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Boyd made this bag himself.
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Thanks for playing along Boyd. See you on the streets.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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  • Avatar
    soren January 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    the attention to aesthetic detail (white everywhere) is obvious and the trispoke wheels give it attitude. nice bike!

    (i would have liked to see the drive side too.)

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    Todd Boulanger January 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    What fund and such a good looking bike…though I wonder about handling a load. Nice to see a steel vs. carbon fork.

    Perhaps this could be a weekly series – a coffee time brain break…sponsored by ______ a coffee roaster of your choice.

    Speaking of Boyd…perhaps Boyd Coffee needs an in house bean delivery by bike guy.

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    Steve Scarich January 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    You know you are a bike nut, when you receive an inheritance and you buy Tri-Spokes!

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      Pete January 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      R.I.P. Steve Hed.

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    Justin January 12, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Enjoy the post, Jonathan. I enjoy seeing the different way people set up their bikes, so thanks…

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    wsbob January 12, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    For people without an aversion to fat tube frame bikes, old ‘Dales are beautiful. The welds at the head tube, and depending on the model and year, elsewhere on the bike, are first rate, contoured to each other. Boyd might use his bike for time trials, but the long chain stays indicate it’s more likely a touring bike. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, better suited to what he’s using it for now. Glad to see a good bike working hard.

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    Eric Leifsdad January 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    That’s a neat locking strategy, granted not for every wheel/bike. It looks like that frame is close to being big enough for the wheel to pass through the triangle. These cuff locks look far less secure than a U lock or good chain, but the flexibility and weight are probably good for something with more security than a cable.

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    Middle of the Road guy January 13, 2016 at 9:41 am

    My first few roadbikes were Kleins…man, were they rough on the body…but boy were they fast.

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    dbrunker January 13, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I saw that bike and rider a block or two away the day this article came out.

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    David Feldman January 13, 2016 at 11:39 am

    That’s an old Klein Performance sport bike–you could stick your whole hand between the seat tube and rear tire. That’s a good thing for carrying that massive front load. That should balance better than a racier road bike for sure.

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    David Lewis November 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    RIP Boyd

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