29 January 2013

Handmade Bicycles

Bikes as Functional Art

If there is one common thread that runs through cycling, it is the love of a bike. A bike is art. Whether we have taken a common manufactured bike and personalized it to our own style, or built up a bike ourselves selecting each component - we love our bikes. I enjoy the details of my own bike (a Cannondale Evo Supersix), I can only imagine the ultimate joy of building a bike from conception to realization. 

To forge steel, titanium, or carbon into a rideable work of art. What joy that must bring. Just as I love going to a car show to gaze at the beauty of a curved headlight or details of the interior or to hear the engine roar, in the world of bikes there exists a show were my appreciation for all things handmade can be appreciated - it is the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), and this year the show is coming to Denver, Colorado!
Mark your calendars for the weekend of February 22-24, 2013, North American Handmade Bicycle Show in downtown Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, Hall D. 

Show hours: Friday, February 22, 11-6pm, $18; Saturday, February 23, 10-6pm, $18; Sunday, February 24, 10-5pm, $15. These fees apply if you register online before the 20th, if not you will pay $4 extra at the event (7000 expected to attend). 

*Added feature: a post written for this event: Best Beer Pubs and Breweries in Denver, By Pedal Dancer.  

Update 02/20/13: more information at: Fun and Facts at the Handmade Bike Show

The handmade bike show is touted as "A traveling convention of custom bicycles," which also offers seminars (Fri, Sat, Sun) on varied topics. A seminar pass is $150 and grants you access to seminars during all 3 show days. Speakers include Craig Calfee of Calfee Design, Butch Boucher of Moots, Keith Noronha of Reynolds Technology, Tom Ritchey of Ritchey Bicycle Components, and several other knowledgeable frame builders.
Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado
Downtown Denver map with the Convention Center marked in red, click to enlarge
You never know what you will see at a handmade bike show. I hope to be surprised and to be exposed to new names and new designs. See the list of 185 exhibitors at the NAHBS (80% of exhibitors are from out-of-state). According to the event website we can expect to see, "In addition to many US frame builders, exhibitors from countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and The Netherlands."
This will be the 8th annual NAHBS bicycle show. The show has grown 8-10% a year since 2005 when it debuted with just 23 exhibitors. The NAHBS show moves location every year, so see it while it is convenient. If you plan to travel to Denver the convention offers travel information. So far our winter in Denver has been very mild, so please come (although we did get fresh snow last night).

History of locations of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show:
2014 - ? not yet announced
2013 - Denver, Colorado
2012 - Sacramento, California
2011 - Austin, Texas
2010 - Richmond, Virginia
2009 - Indianapolis, Indiana
2008 - Portland, Oregon
2007 - San Jose, California
2006 - San Jose, California
2005 - Houston, Texas

Let's look at bike frames from some of the exhibitors: Photos from the NAHBS website list of exhibitors. please click any image to enlarge

Yipsan Randonneur
Engin 29er steel hardtail
Hampsten Strada Bianca
Independent Fabrication Single Speed Steel Townie
Moots, PshycloX RSL cyclocross bike, a prize winning local favorite out of Steamboat Springs, CO
Paketa magnesium V2r tandem
Littleford bicycle
Victoria Cycles Belt Drive Commuter
Vendetta Cycles English Racer
Vendetta - beauty in the details
Related Reading: Report from Bike Mag from the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show and Cyclocross Magazine's The Best of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2012. Or a wonderful gallery of photos from the 2012 show by Colin Meagher at PinkBike.com: 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Related Pedal Dancer post: A Handmade Pegoretti Bike

For more information please visit the NAHBS website: http://2013.handmadebicycleshow.com/