by Susan Frampton
Zukas came to the Augusta area with his family in 1991. Having taught himself to maintain and repair his own bicycle for competition it wasn't long before he found work at Andy Jordan's Bicycle Warehouse. He continued racing mountain bikes but, once reaching the expert class level, the training became more demanding than he could handle while still working full time. Leaving racing behind, he focused on a career that allowed him to follow his passion for the actual mechanics of bicycles.
Zukas built his first bicycle frame in 2011. The first time he raced it, he received orders for three more, marking an auspicious beginning for the new endeavor. In his back yard, nestled among the stalks and vines or an impressive vegetable garden, cackling chickens, and the drone of a honey-producing bee hive, the quiet, bespectacled man build the 250 sq. ft. workshop where he now grows his own unique crop; harvesting approximately 8 - 10 Cro-moly steel bicycle frames annually. One glance at the impressive array of equipment, tools arrayed in perfect order, and spotlessly clean floor, reveals a man with an obvious eye for perfection. Zukas had only been building custom bike frames for a few years when one of his designs was tapped to pose for the 2014 Cycle EXIF Custom Bicycle Calendar. You know your bike is sexy when it reaches calendar pin-up status, and this model rolls with the very best.
Custom designed frames take about a month to build and, since he only works on his off time from his job as a bicycle mechanic, the builder has a constant stream of orders. That's no problem from the serious cycling enthusiasts who take the wait in stride, knowing that from the moment they finally put their feet on the pedals, this well be the cycle of their life.
The proportions of other custom bikes have sometimes made them look a little goofy," says Zukas. "My customers have been excited about how streamlined their bikes look."
A 10.9 mile out-and-back trail through the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area featuring water views and is good for all skill levels.
A 37 mile series of loops through a forested area great for mountain bikers. Some areas of F.A.T.S. are more challenging and may be difficult for beginners.
A 7 mile out-and-back paved trail in North Augusta featuring river views and is good for all skill levels. Lined on both sides with trees, the North Augusta Greeneway offers plenty of shade in the warmer months.