Contributed by Lauren Greenfield
Meandering through the North American Handmade Bicycle Show
Eye candy surrounds me. Bicycles of all colors, shapes, sizes, models. Craftsmanship and artistry unmatched to the flocks of similar bikes seen at even the best of shops.
I’m here to select my “next ride.” My dream bike that will take me through the next decade. Through the challenges in life, my dreams of next adventures, and daily decision making, whether what to have for dinner post-ride or which part of the world to explore next by bike (or otherwise).
Walking through the North American Handmade Bicycle Show almost convinces us that we each DO need a collection of bikes – one for every day of the week, weather condition or mood. Even the pineapple beach bike with a canopy almost had me – who doesn’t want to take their partner (or even kid) on that to the beach – complete with a cooler in the back? A 4.5” knobby fat bike to explore the mountain trails or ride snow and ice to work on even the worst of days? Better get two so I can recruit a friend to ride with me!
A new road bike, complete with custom stone “bling” in the hand cut steel lugs; the abundance of gravel bikes – complete with bikepacking dreams attached in various colors, materials and dirt buildup (at least these guys had FUN en route to Sacramento, getting out to explore the land and play a bit). The bamboo and wood and the opportunities of shaping these materials to ensure a smooth and reliable ride, whether we’re commuting or riding a mountain century.
A lifelong commuter, I was drawn to many of the beauties that might take me to work every day and around town. Of course, my fear would be the dirt build up in the event of inclement weather or the fear of theft.
The smaller frame builders took up an entire row of their own, each demonstrating craftsmanship, care and artistic ability in exhibiting their work – oftentimes first second or third frames/bikes. Who of them would be next coveted builder, demanding $1000 deposit for a frame that would be hand built, custom colored and designed by you, but not delivered for 5-10 years. Some of those big guys – Vanilla, Groovy and Pegoretti – didn’t even make it to the show this year!
Prices ranged accordingly. While many of these builders are able to produce 5-20 frames per year, prices (that I asked about or researched) start as reasonable as $4500 (remember, this is transportation, functionality, custom designed and unique artwork) and can go as high as $20,000. Many offer a range of options
Lugs. Materials. paint jobs. Belt drives. wheels, components Saddles. The choices are many
Carbon? steel? ti? Utilitarian? or speed? Dirt
What’s your dream ride? What are you waiting for? A little investment (entry fee) in an upcoming NAHBS might get you one step closer .