Sincio De Acero: A Shop Visit and Showcase at Santander, Spain’s La Pindia

When Tomi opened his shop, La Pindia, he decided to throw a one-day bike show with framebuilders from all over the Iberian Peninsula. Due to the shop’s focus on handcrafted bikes, over a dozen bikes from various makers were brought to show the state of the craft within the region. Learn about the framebuilding community of Northern Spain and what ties them all together, and don’t miss some amazing bespoke builds.

The North of Spain might not be in the spotlight as the most popular cycling destination in the country right now, but cycling culture runs deep here, even if still revolving heavily around racing. The number of cycling clubs, top-level athletes, and fans of the sport is very high in this region. With its rainy weather and its hilly, sometimes even abrupt and rapidly-changing landscape, riding here is hard – but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

Pindia means “steep slope” in cycling jargon. It’s an adjective reserved for the hardest, most grueling climbs. It is the name that Tomi, owner of La Pindia, selected for its recently inaugurated bicycle workshop, which is located at the top of a long ascent in the center of the city of Santander. With over 10 years of experience working as a bike mechanic, and being a framebuilder himself, there are no mass-produced bikes on sale in Tomi’s place. His business revolves around the full service and yearly overhaul of his client’s bikes, as well as custom builds for handcrafted framesets from local builders. La Pindia is also a meetup point for cyclists to have a nice cup of locally roasted coffee while discussing mountain passes, nerding out about the latest tech, or anything in between. As Tomi’s father is a cabinetmaker by trade, it’s not surprising to find out that the wooden furniture that fills the space is handmade. Even a bicycle frame made out of wood can be found hidden inside a cabinet.

To celebrate the opening of its business, a one-day bicycle show was organized. The meeting showcases the work of artisans from Madrid, Murcia, Elche, Santander, and Bilbao. With sixteen bicycles of varying styles on show, the event attracted quite an unexpected number of visitors to a very warm reception that surpassed everyone’s expectations. This reflects the big change in cycling culture within the last few years. Cycling is still a very performance-focused activity around these parts, moreso than we tend to see when other country’s communities are shown. It’s becoming more open and welcoming than ever, with a shift towards a more casual attitude, getting outside and enjoying the ride.

Although their work at La Pindia showed a range of styles and methods, all of the framebuilders from across Peninsula Ibérica had one thing in common: Andres Arregui, affectionately nicknamed “El Padrino (The Godfather)”, who founded a school in Madrid, Escuela Técnica de la Bicicleta, where Arregui and his team collect the knowledge left by the framebuilders of old and inspire a new generation. He and his team at ETB are not only teaching design and building techniques; they are also exploring the newest technologies in a constant effort to keep custom steel bicycle construction relevant for years to come.


With his focus mainly on road and gravel bikes, Pablo Aion is making very clean looking bikes. You can recognize an Aion by its brand mark, a polished “X” in the seat tube, right below the seatstays. On show was a gravel bike equipped for bikepacking with a 1x mullet drivetrain, lightweight KCNC parts, SON dynamo lighting system, and his preferred set of bags. The cherry on top comes from the paint job: Pantone Color of the Year 2024, the very trendy Peach Fuzz, with hits of plum purple.


Pablo BBloque started his career as an ETB student and he is now a teacher at the school, a labor he is combining with building custom bikes under his own brand, BBloque, as well as his small-batch production label Sombra Cycles. His work is characterized by fillet brazed joints. The gravel bike on display was decked out in an astonishing pink-gray marble paintjob and pale pink anodized components. The choice of Teravail Rutland tires is the final touch for a bicycle meant to be ridden everywhere, no matter the terrain.


Helike is the name that Greek colonists gave to Elche (a city of Alicante, in the south of Spain) at around 600 BC. This is where Manu is working on his bicycles. The bike on show is a bikepacking MTB with custom front and rear racks, prepared to carry all the stuff you need to cross the high altitude passes of Sierra Nevada.


Tomi has a very minimalistic approach to the branding of his bicycles, with very discreet logos letting the many hidden details tell the story about his work and personality. The all-black bike with copper details was initially made for a trip from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France, to Potes, in the Spanish region of Cantabria. Yeah, that’s a pretty long trip through different kinds of landscapes – versatility is the name of the game here.


The oveja negra of the group, Norka is a devotee of traditional lugged bicycle construction. His goal is to build the ultimate version of his chosen subject matter, while keeping componentry and equipment up to date, embracing evolution where it matters.

“I refuse modern brazing and welding techniques, just because I’m in love with lugs. I would like to follow the tradition, adapting it to modern technologies.” Shown is a fat-tired all-road bicycle – a go-everywhere, do-everything machine with a lightweight front rack.


This kind of bike is what we call here un pepino. Carlos likes to incorporate the latest technology in his work. Built with Dura Ace Di2 and Schmolke carbon wheels, his bike is the lightest on show, undoubtedly the fastest as well, and rolling proof that frame material is more of a matter of taste than a performance factor. Check out the matte-shiny paint combination. The luxurious red color is called Sangre de Toro.


This Bilbao-based young talent is complementing the metalwork with some of their beautiful bags. Being environmentally conscious, bag maker Urko tries to use as much recycled and eco-friendly materials as possible, always walking the fine line between lightweight and durability. He is not afraid of challenges, as he has been spending the last year prototyping some clever magnetic Fidlock solutions to quickly attach and detach the bags to the bike.

Sunday Ride

Then on Sunday morning we went riding bicycles! We started the day with a short yoga class in the social room of La Pindia while we waited for some local riders to show up. Tire pressures were checked and away we went with a quick downhill, heading into the coast. When we got there, Isra, our guide, offered us the option to continue on the road or to take the singletrack by the sea. With most of the members of the grupeta riding burly gravel or full-on mountain bikes, all eyes were on Norka’s 35mm Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass tires. Norka deemed the rubber good enough for any terrain, so we end up heading to the trails.

Morning fog started to clear up, letting the warmth of the still very early spring sun start to accompany us while we passed by some beautiful small villages and sand beaches, a nice contrast against the rocky nature of the shoreline created by the relentless beating of the Cantabrian Sea. We got to Playa de Arnía, a beach adorned by rock formations dated more than 90 million years old, and decided to stop to refuel at a little bar called El Cazurro, where we enjoyed a dish of rabas (fried calamari). No gels or bars for us!

We continued with the ride and gained some elevation, so we got sight of Picos de Europa, the highest mountain range in the region. It surprised us there was no snow, given the time of the year. The path started to turn sandy as we reached Pinares de Liencres, where we decided to get back to Santander, picking some silent secondary roads. Before long we pedaled back into the city. After an amazing weekend, we had to ascend one final pindia to arrive back at La Pindia.  A tough climb never felt so good.

Thanks to Fernando Quintana and Norbert Toth for documenting the state of framebuilding in the Iberian Peninsula. If you’re ever in Santander, check out La Pindia – we can’t wait to visit.

Check out more at La Pindia.