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Reflections on NAHBS 2012
The tough thing about the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is being able to sift through everything and distill it down to something that is manageable to process. For those who were there they understand the gravity of this task. All those beautifully crafted frames handbuilt wheels, nuanced parts, retro love and even cool t-shirts are hard to filter through upon first glance. Which is why we went to the NAHBS this year with a crew of able bodied enthusiasts ready to take on just that. From the Chris King crew we culled newcomer Kyle von Hoetzendorff, Patagonia offered up their Head of Materials Steve Richardson, Portland State University came through with the Manager of their Bicycle Co-Op Clint Culpepper and Chris Distefano and I had our offerings from Rapha. Take a look to see how things panned out.
1) The Oregon Corner - there was so much goodness in this back section of the show that it would be remiss to not mention it. From the English Cycles green bike (with drawings from Geoff Mcfetridge), Ben from Trucker Racks was showing off some of his goods in the Ira Ryan booth (their collaboration with local restaurant Nedd Ludd won "Best City Bike"), Tony Pereira took home the prize for "Best MTB" (see Tony above), and TiCycles took the prize for "Experimental Bike" with a bike that didn't even get an honorable mention at the Oregon Manifest this past fall. Needless to say, Oregon had some pretty great representation.
2) the City Riding Wind Jacket - now, if you were to go straight to the line to check it out is would fall under the City Riding category. However, this little beauty crosses boundaries. Not only does it look great (and fit in the back pocket of your denim) when riding through the city. But the jacket works equally well on a road ride.
3) Black Cat Bicycles - The grey mountain bike with racks was one of the coolest things at the show. Not so much for its ground breaking geometry or new paint schemes, but because Black Cat Bicycles founder and builder Todd Ingermanson said that if the bike did not sell he was looking forward to taking it on a camping trip to the Muir Woods. That gets a thumbs up in my book.
4) Demon Frameworks - not only were these guys great to hang out with and talk to, but they won the highly coveted "Best Road Bike." Interestingly they only brought one bicycle and it wasn't painted. So there you have it. Great to see some representation from across the pond as well for these guys flew in from the UK to participate in the show.
5) Joe Bell - a stop by Richard Sachs' booth is required at every show and while the display hardly changes from one year to the next it is still one of the most important booths of the show. Joe Bell paints all of Richard's bikes and they are always flawless. His work can been seen elsewhere at the NAHBS, but he is a hard man to track down.
Now, let's move on to a few show favorites from our compatriots…
Steve is the Head of Materials over at Patagonia. We were fortunate enough to be able to ride with Steve every day from Thursday to Sunday. The sun was shining and Mr. Richardson was on his baby-blue Independent Fabrication SSR road bike. Sure, he had hairy legs but we will forgive him because his time as a Shimano Mechanic back in the day makes everything right and his keen eye was pointed at more than a few well deserved bicycles.
1. The Brodie Whippet Replica, not for the display of craftsmanship and creativity, but for the discussion it led to with Chris King and Emily about bikes, technology, and social and infrastructure change. Project and art bikes like this are a great part of NAHBS, but the discussions and thinking they inspire are really awesome!
2. Riding with Gary Fisher and this small group and talking about inspiring change in the world…then seeing the locals who joined us realize they were riding with Gary Fisher!
4. Soulcraft’s custom head tube badges, I hope mine will be attached to a matte stainless steel single speed!
5. Rob English (English Cycles)using real creativity and technology to push the envelope on performance in a few different ways. What he’s doing may not be for all of us, but it is good to see performance emphasized at NAHBS.
7. "Chris King":http://chrisking.com/ single speed R-45 hub that will surely be a hit at NAHBS in Denver!
8. Someone, probably on the way home from the Dive Bar, putting flowers in Poseidon’s hand.
9. Of course the best part was all the time (rides, meals, show, etc.) with old and new friends with the passion for riding bikes together!
Chris, or CD as we call him, should need no real introduction to this industry. But, the rest of you should start to get comfortable with his name. Before coming on as the Communications Director (see? CD) for Rapha North America Chris spent most of his time across the river as the head of Marketing for Chris King Precision Components. Finally we were able to coax him over to the dark (and pink) side to work his magic with us. Here are a few of his favorites from a weekend that was mostly spent on his Cielo road bike (with fenders) or in one of the many fantastic Sacramento coffee shops.
1) DeSalvo gravel road bike
2) Cielo Sportif with match-painted fenders
3) Independent Fabrication SSR Max
4) Rob English everything
5) Demon Frameworks
Kyle von Hoetzendorff
Kyle on the other hand has gone the other way — heading over to Chris King to start mixing things up from the inside. His years over at local Portland bike shop 21st Avenue Bicycles provided him with the knowledge necessary to take this storied company in new and fruitful directions. One of the first things that he has done was to help his cohort Dylan VanWeelden start the Cielo Blog where they chronicled everyone's T-shirts on the NAHBS weekend as well as Steve Rex's open house Saturday night. This was also Kyle's first NAHBS show since it made its stop in Portland a few years back. It should also be known that Kyle likes to Karaoke. A lot.
1. Curtis Inglis Orange MTB tapered and flared Headtube.
2. Stinner MTB
3. Cielo Cross Racer Paint (above)
4. Karaoke at Hamburger Patties. Kyle Kelley singing Crocodile Rock and Jen Abercrombie belting out Joan Jett - My mind was blown.
5. Ira Ryan downtube shifter trailer brake lever
6. Bicycle Fabrications full suspension dirt jumper
Clint helps run Portland State University's Bike Hub. That is when he is not racing his bike, being an OBRA race official, putting on his own Omnium at the Alpenrose Velodrome or baking fantastic chocolate cookies. He is a busy man. However, he took the time out of his schedule to come down to see what NAHBS SAC was all about and even get in a little work at the same time by heading over to Davis, CA to talk about bike fitting with the pros. His emphasis is always good food and great conversation and his companionship was a necessity on the drive back from Sacramento. Clint was also the only person on the weekend to insert himself into the wily pack of riders that makes up one of the more popular Sacramento group rides on Saturday morning which he claims was a somewhat "eye opening" experience. Here are a few of Clint's picks from NAHBS 2012.
1. Mark DiNucci's unpainted frame. "So that you couldn't cover up the bullshit with paint." (Actual quote). Unbelievably well crafted lugs. I don't care for lugs but these were amazing, that's how good they were.
2. (Above) Chris Igleheart's top cap generator light on/off switch. Also, he wins for best non-bike related conversation.
3. Steve Rex and Rex Cycles for hosting the best gathering of the weekend in a fantastic shop. There's nothing better than being surrounded by beautiful tools and machinery while eating wonderful food and having great conversation.
4. The new SRAM Red found on an Australian import that probably had its parts installed before the hubbub around the new group emerged.
5. DeLoreans. Yawn. Take me to a future in which this silly stuff doesn't happen.
There you have it, straight from the horses mouth and then some. NAHBS have done it again. With the help of the fine folks of Sacramento (seriously impressed by this town) they pulled off another successful show, possibly the most successful to date. Of course our only unit of measure being the smiles on builders faces and a lengthening of their build list is not the most accurate measure, but it is something. The emphasis on this show as not only an industry show for the men and women of handmade bicycle framebuilding to get together but also as a consumer facing event has helped its continual rise in popularity. Before we completely turn our eyes and ears towards Denver, Colorado let us take a minute to raise our glasses to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show of Sacramento.
- The #raphaprestige story is up. Film by @WEREHAUS, photos from Brian Vernor & story by @krasniakjulie ::http://t.co/YtCARBlXee
- Clancy takes the win in the Tour series in Aberystwyth.
- @alainrumpf sorry for late reply. Comprehensive site is http://t.co/gBvpR134lP. As Udo Bölts once said, 'quäl' dich, du Sau!' Enjoy!
- On Friday May 31st, Rapha will be hosting a ride from Rapperswil-Jona on the banks of Lake Zurich. More info to follow next week on rapha.cc
- Boss. Norwegian national champion's replica jersey and bib shorts now at rapha.cc. http://t.co/fpyjc3PeiM
- As the #Giro begins to climax, @herbiesykes looks at one of its long-established traditions—the one-stage wonder. → http://t.co/mydWSIHSrT
- @clotho_nor Hi Christopher, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks.
- The Tour Series continues tonight in Aberystwyth. Last year Kristian House took his second win of the series there.
- UK: We are hosting a @letapedutour evening on 14th June in London to provide detailed advice on what to expect. → http://t.co/2gP5KRi8fX
- Churchill → http://t.co/5yhkiupJAH #raphasurvey #wayfaring #cycling