By spokesman | March 5, 2010
I had the chance to meet Aaron Dykstra of Six-Eleven Bicycles at the North American Handmade Bicycle show last weekend. First let me clear up two potential misconceptions - he is not related to former baseball player Lenny Dykstra and his bicycle company has nothing to do with 7-11. Aaron won the Rookie of The Year Award at the Handmade Bicycle Show this year. The bicycle he brought to the show is in the photograph above, but there are better shots of his work on his very well designed website.
Six Eleven bicycles is a one man operation and a fairly new company. However Aaron has a long history with bicycles. He apprenticed under master frame builder Koichi Yamaguchi to learn frame building and he has experience both as a bicycle mechanic and a racer. He doesn’t specialize in any particular type of bicycle but works closely with clients to create a custom bike to meet their needs and riding style. His frames are either lugged or fillet brazed steel.
The company is named in honor of the Six-Eleven locomotive which was manufactured in Roanoke VA where his company is based. When Aaron told me that the locomotive served as the inspiration for the name of his company, it sounded familiar. Later I realized it was related to one of my favorite photographers - Winston Link.
Winston Link was a photographer who specialized in documenting the Norfolk & Western railroad during the end of the steam era in the 1950s. Winston Link was primarily a New York based fashion photographer, but on weekends he would drive south to Norfolk & Western territory and find locations to take pictures of the railroad. He would often take the pictures at night and used hundreds of flash bulbs to illuminate the picture. He would set up the shot locations for hours and then only get one chance to take the picture. He also took pictures where the railroad was featured in the background of scenes of ordinary life to emphasize the relationship between the communities and the railroad. In these pictures, the trains might be seen through a living room window, speeding by a gas station or in one of my favorites (shown below), passing by a drive-in movie theater during the movie. There is a museum of Winston Link’s work in Roanoke. Check out the museum’s website to see more of his work. The Six-Eleven, one of the last surviving Norfolk Southern J Class locomotives, is housed in the Virginia Museum Of Transportation in Roanoke. A donation from Winston Link helped to save the Six-Eleven from the scrap heap.
Hot Shot Eastbound at the Iaeger Drive-In, Iaeger West Virginia 1956 by O. Winston Link