23 March 2014, Charlotte, NC – NAHBS is certainly the place to experience the most stunning custom and handmade bicycle innovations you’re not likely to see at your local bike shop. And it’s a great place to meet some of the giants of the industry like Tom Ritchey and Chris King who manned their booths during the recent show in Charlotte.
But the handmade bicycle business is about more than just the bikes. The annual NAHBS show recently ended its tenth edition gathering custom bike aficionados from across the globe for three days of bicycle bling. As much as each of the builders at the show is an artist with a unique and different perspective on bicycle building aesthetic they are also very much alike. If you took a moment to pause on the show floor this past week you would have hear the unmistakable clamor of community.
Although the bikes are the main focus of the show something more important happens in this tight knit community of artisans; new friendships are made and old friendships are rekindled both on the show floor and at the parties after day’s end.
NAHBS sponsors team up to put on some of the best parties in town during the show weekend. This year’s NAHBS fell on Saint Patrick’s day weekend, a fitting backdrop to Shamrock Cycles green clover-draped cross disc show bike, in Charlotte where the worlds largest pub crawl highlights the Luck o’ the Irish festivities.
And not far from the uptown Charlotte St. Patty’s crowds NAHBS attendees put on a hoedown of their own sponsored by Oskar Blues Brewery and a local fiddle band.
This year Greg ran the photo studio where a show bike was set up and photographed every six minutes. This is a daunting task for the best photographers but with the help of an army of dedicated volunteers the bikes were photographed and sent back to their booths unscathed in record time. Seasoned bicycle race Photographer Weldon Weaver worked closely with his volunteer crew to create the official photoset of award entries.
If you love bicycles and are even remotely interested having a chance to be around some of the best custom bicycle handwork in the world we encourage you to head Louisville in 2015. If you go, remember to take a moment to meet the builders as well as ogle their bikes. You’ll quickly learn this is a gathering of artists and a community of people who’ve come together for ten straight years to share their visions. In the end NAHBS is as much about the people and having fun as it is about bicycle innovation.
Its a place where friendship and community come together to share bicycle dreams.
18 March 2014, Salt Lake City, UT – Home for two days and recovering from NAHBS. We enjoyed living a different life for a week and we are grateful to our NAHBS family for their hospitality but it’s nice to be home.
A crazy week of bikes and people. Said hello to Mike DeSalvo though I didn’t photograph his latest bikes. I have one and can tell you the guy knows how to work metal.
We took a ton of images that we’ll post once we get back into the groove. Until then the picture here is the tear down and load out of NAHBS Charlotte.
And finally to illustrate how small the world is we made a surreal connection when we stopped at the local supermarket on the way home to restock the fridge. Looking like two feral cats, she asked us how our day was going. We told her we just landed from Charlotte and were exhausted after the world’s biggest pub crawl. She said the next time we go we should stop into Connolly’s Bar because her grandfather was the proprietor years ago…
15 March 2014, Charlotte, NC – NAHBS Charlotte is partying it up at the worlds largest pub crawl tonight for a bit of Irish fun as day two of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show moved from the the convention center floor to the pubs for a welcome bit of Irish cheer.
First stop was Mert’s Heart and Soul food on College Street for a plate of deep fried catfish, collard greens and black-eye peas. Sufficiently satiated and hydrated we moved the party to Connolly’s Irish Pub where nobody seemed to care what our names were; this isn’t Boston after all. And the bartender didn’t bother with our ID’s because we really do look older than most of the crowd.
The streets and the pubs were overflowing with people of all ages celebrating Patrick’s special day. But since we have another day of bike show to attend to our evening ended earlier than most partiers’ will. And we’ll most likely not wake up with a hangover which will be a welcome treat after this morning’s head pounding start. St. Patty’s day is a perfect backdrop for the special bond the builders and attendees of NAHBS have forged over ten years of handmade bicycle show history and there’s no where we’d rather be than Charlotte.
16 March 2014, Charlotte, NC – Just as a Michelin three-star French chef would never allow an imperfect plate to leave his kitchen, Mavic, the storied French bicycle component manufacturer, releases no new product lines before perfection is achieved. According to the Mavic representatives at NAHBS Charlotte the company is not interested in being first to market when new product trends appear, rather they want to bring the product to market when their version is perfected. This is the company’s mantra today although Mavic has many firsts in its long history including the1999 debut of the first wireless electronic shifting group. Mavic’s recent work focused on improving the braking track of their elite level carbon road wheels to improve braking and temperature modulation.
We asked about the trend toward road disc brakes, a technology that seemed to step back here at NAHBS after SRAM’s recent hydraulic brake recall, an early stumble that we’ve predicted will move the technology of hydraulic bicycle braking systems forward in the long run. Mavic told us they were waiting for the market to settle but disc brake wheels from France are soon to be a reality. And like dining guests at a Michelin-starred French restaurant we are waiting patiently for perfection to be served.
“Charlotte, NC, 13 March 2014 – NAHBS Charlotte load in has begun. Exhibitors are arriving, checking in and setting up their booth displays. This should be one awesome gathering of bike builders, component manufacturers and apparel companies including our new friends at AllOneWord Fine Cycling Caps.
12 March 2014, Charlotte, NC – NABHS is a day away here in Charlotte, central city for the commercial banking industry. Bank of America and Wells Fargo have multiple towers here with employees managing commercial bank interests for these powerhouse companies. According to the Wells Fargo Bank Museum staff Charlotte is the second biggest banking center in the U.S. next to New York City. We spoke to the Westin staff who told us Charlotte is a work town with this area of the city busy during work hours and quiet at other times.
We also noticed there are few bicycle paths and marked lanes for cyclists on the roads here. But Charlotte does have a Bike Share program sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Last night we stayed up until 1am stuffing attendee envelopes and preparing exhibitor badges for NABHS. This show is a perfect venue to meet some big names in the custom bicycle and the component industry in one place. If you’re thinking about buying a bicycle NABHS is the place to see some beautiful bikes you many never have considered. NAHBS Denver is where I met Mike DeSalvo and decided he was the guy I wanted to build my titanium disc road bike.
11 March 2014, Salt Lake International Airport – Checked in, through security and waiting to board the flight to CTL for NAHBS. We packed our bike shoes on the oft chance we have an opportunity to get on a bike one morning during the show, but We’ll be mostly working with the show directors helping with all of the behind the scenes work that goes into the show. Can’t wait to get out of SL,UT for a week.