Doug’s Custom Brooklyn Machine Works Touring Bike

190 days. That’s over 6 months. For Doug D, that’s how long he’s been living in and on this bike: a custom Brooklyn Machine Works tourer. This frame is in fact the only custom bike the Brooklyn framebuilders have made over the years. Sure, there have been numerous prototypes and one-offs, but Doug’s touring bike is the only completely custom ride they’ve made.

For good reason. A touring bike like this weighs around 100 lbs and carries everything Doug needs to tour all over the east coast and northeast during the harsh winter months. It has specific engineering requirements and plenty of custom details.

It features custom-designed and laser cut dropouts, as well as an integrated cable sheath at the seat tube cluster. Doug specifically requested BMW’s signature double plate fork, with aero blades, specifically drawn to hold the weight of panniers. Then, to top it off, the decals are the first ever die-cut vinyl logos the brand has done.

All in all, it’s a rather straight forward build. Pieced together with whatever spare parts Doug had on him at the time. Take for instance the Dura Ace cranks and Ultegra front derailler. Yet the 48h Phil Wood touring wheels, Paul Touring Cantis, Brooks saddle, hand made front panniers and Arkel bar bag are very much touring specific.

So what’s Doug been doing for 6 months? He’s been visiting various factories and facilities where companies still make goods in the USA. Everything from Easton hockey sticks, to boot makers, military equipment, stand up paddle boards and yes, even bicycle frame builders.

I caught up with Doug briefly in Austin yesterday, shot his bike, took him to my favorite bar and heard stories about stealth camping, staying sane and most importantly, warm during the winter months. He has tons of film and digital photos, which he hopes to put into a book at some point.

Doug's Custom Brooklyn Machine Works Touring Bike

Follow Doug on Instagram for more stories and photos. If you see this man on the road, say hello!

  • Mark Reimer

    Love it!! Now there’s a bike that’s got a few stories. Chain covered in grime, tattered bar wrap, bent fender stays, it’s all so beautiful.

  • Kyle Kelley

    Pretty stoked to see this!

  • ap

    thumbs up. bike/instagram/and the whole idea of Doug’s trip are all really really good.

  • Tim Donahoe

    I remember when this dude played polo still. It seems like a million years ago.

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Hell yeah Doug!! Make it to Seattle and I’ll buy you a whiskey/beer or three. There are some serious stealth camping options here too!

  • Trenton South

    Anyone know what handlebar this is? I love the slight bend from center to the hoods/

  • boomforeal

    now that is a rad atavism

  • tertius_decimus

    Utmost respect for this dude. He does right thing.

  • his trip looks unreal. so much respect for this dude!

  • Stan Engelbrecht

    Good moves Doug!

    Hey John. Hi guys. I have a question that’s not directly related to Doug’s great journey. I’m unsure about something. I’ve sent The Radavist two submissions over the last year or so, and I’ve never gotten a reply. Am I doing it wrong? Do you tend towards only American content? Or are you simply not interested in my submissions?

    Before I sent you a notice about a 700km very tough all-dirt vintage road bike race I organised through the South African Karoo (the Tour of Arae), and more recently I sent you some information about an emerging local South African frame builder who built me the CX/Tourer below. It’s a fantastic machine, and I’ve completed a 2000km + solo tour from Cape Town to Windhoek (through the Namibian desert) over this last December/January. I would be very happy, and proud for Dave Mercer (the frame builder), and Black Koki (the artist who did the paint), if you featured my Mercer – ‘Chaos Reigns’.

    • Hey dude, I’m literally SWAMPED with emails – over 1,000 deep – and I can’t stay on top of them while I’ve been on the road like I have been. It’s not that I prefer American content over European or whereever, it’s just a matter of being able to filter through all the junk / spam / PR / product stuff to find unique stories like the one you’re sharing.

      Email me again, with your subject in all caps, so I can see it. [email protected]

      • Stan Engelbrecht

        Thanks John. Will do.

        : )

        • adanpinto

          Bike looks beautiful Stan.

          • Keith Malarick


        • Tom

          Gorgeous ride!

      • Stan Engelbrecht

        Hi John. I mailed you a while ago as requested, but I’m not sure if the mail got lost in your sea of spam and junk again. I’ve sent it again right now, with the subject as MERCER CX/TOURER, SOUTH AFRICAN BUILT. Thanks John. Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

    • Salim Riley

      That bike looks super fun!

    • Rich May

      Great looking bike. I would be glad to hear more about your trip.

  • charlesojones

    That bike and that dude look like they’ve had many happy miles together. I’d love to clean that chain though.

  • Brian Cottrell-Thompson

    In trying moments, this man’s life is my happy place.

  • PNT


  • Luc

    The dangly coffee filter and steer tube rust just put this over the top.

  • Awesome setup. It did remind me of my wish for Paul brakes to ship with stainless hardware.

  • carl bradtmiller

    that cassette looks like an odometer

  • Wow… this bike has a lot of character!

  • Dan

    i’d love to see a gear list of his stuff

  • Josh

    What bars are they? do nitto make a 31.8 clamp noodle bar?

    • Josh

      also bike looks rad!

    • Ace Metric Cycles

      Yep. They’re making heaps of their traditional shapes in 31.8 now.

  • Cody Weishuhn

    So much yes in these photos. From the rusted bits to the worn in Brooks. This is the character a touring rig is supposed to have.
    Makes me anxious for my Natchez Trace tour in a week!

  • Fraser Waters

    Can anyone help with the make of that front light mount, it’s exactly what I need for the Transcontinental. I could get one made too I guess.

    • Travis Brunner

      that one may be a one off, provided you have a quick release front wheel and it is clear (no panniers) I have used a Mr. Control quick release light mount, works well

      • Fraser Waters

        Hi Travis. Cheers. The only problem with the QR mounts is if the bike gets dropped or knocked when using a Dynamo hub -which I am- the axles can be bend without you knowing and the axle then binds up when you least expect it. It’s a 1 in a million but it can and has happened. Thanks though. I currently have the light setup at the fork crown but the handlebar roll gets in the way. There’s photos at

    • Andrew Wade

      Nitto and Phil Wood make a similar mount that bolts into fork or rack braze ons.

      • Fraser Waters

        Thanks Andrew, I think I’ve found what I’m after :

        • Andrew Wade

          That’s the one! You’re welcome, and happy riding on your transcontinental journey.

          • Fraser Waters

            Thanks Andrew. Myself and Russ from Shand cycles are riding as a pair because we are a pair of scaredy cats and haven’t been brave enough to do it solo before. :)

  • Giovanni Jimenez

    I love a worn down bicycle! My surly cross-check has seen a cumulative 5000 miles of touring. gravel roads, single track, and miles from working delivery, only in 1 year! I remember feeling sad with every scratch and small sign of rust that began to spawn throughout my frame. Now, I realize these are the battle scars of a frame thats seen it all. I look at this bicycle and cant help but wonder what stories it holds.

  • Márton Sógor

    Well, I barely believe this bike could actually work with all this shit on, but it definitely looks happy and seems to have gone through some serious adventures!

  • Ahab

    I hope to see BMW doing more stuff like this, and less 24″ Park bikes with 18 year old geometry (I have one in my basement). I am happy to see them back, though!

  • Been following this dude on the Gram for a while. Good stuff.

    Edit: I’d like to see his pack list. Good Lord, that’s a lot of crap.

  • Matt

    holy shit strapless platform pedals! shouldve paid hold fast a visit. Rad dude.

    • Touring on flats is the best. I do it all the time. You don’t need clipless or foot retention on a touring bike.

      • Matt

        for real? I feel pretty impotent without some kind of foot retention

  • Joe Roggenbuck


    Been following on IG. Excited to see the book.

  • Liam Griffin

    The only thing missing is the peanut butter jar in the 3rd cage. Much love to Doug on his journey, he’s put on some serious miles since he was here in VT back in September!

    • He was freaking out about not having PB in his third cage.

  • kasual

    Officially not a damn thing off on this rig. Great shots as well.

  • xscott902x

    Are those rear panniers Arkels as well?

  • Eric Hancock

    Dura Ace triple = classy

  • kermitonwheels

    coke bottle lid anti-tripod rattling trick ftw!

  • James Acklin

    What’s the front rack? I have a set of low-riders but I’m looking for something with a small platform for more bonus storage under my bar bag.