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Making New Friends at NAHBS

NAHBS Charlotte Photo Studio Crew ©Weldon Weaver

NAHBS Charlotte Photo Studio Crew
©Weldon Weaver

23 March 2014, Charlotte, NCNAHBS 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.

Photo Studio NAHBS Charlotte ©

Photo Studio NAHBS 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.

Calfee Anodized Cassette ©

Calfee Anodized Cassette

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.

Shamrock Cycles Disc Cross ©

Shamrock Cycles Disc Cross Bike

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.

Shamrock Cycles Disc Cross ©

Shamrock Cycles Disc Cross Bike

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.

NAHBS Charlotte Hoedown ©

NAHBS Charlotte Hoedown

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.

Weldon Weaver at Work ©

Weldon Weaver at Work

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.

NAHBS Charlotte Photo Studio Crew ©Weldon Weaver

NAHBS Charlotte Photo Studio Crew
©Weldon Weaver

Its a place where friendship and community come together to share bicycle dreams.


A Small World


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…


One Year Old – OneOffTwoWheels

The Satisfaction of a Job Well-done ©2014

The satisfaction of a job well-done

8 March 2014, Salt Lake City, UT – Every project should start with a plan if you expect something of value when the endpoint arrives.  Unlike cooking dessert a website does not have an endpoint unless the author stops writing.  Each article is merely one more meal for readers to devour while patiently awaiting the next course.

We made these blitzes from scratch for Greg’s birthday last year first making the crepes, then the filling, and finally frying the packets of blueberry and cheese-filled pillows in rich butter. The process is not unlike writing. You take raw words like flour, milk, and eggs to make a batter that has to be caressed in a properly prepared vessel where the ingredients, like sentences, morph into a cohesive palatable product; this step usually takes a good quantity of butter both when writing and cooking to reach a satisfactory end-point.

Step One - Crepes ©2014

Step One – Crepes

I find making blitzes to be a painful endeavor because there are so many steps to the process.  And getting started is always difficult because I tend to look at the many steps involved as roadblocks to the endpoint.   But once I’ve taken a moment to realize that the three most important people in my life–my partner and our two kids–will adore me for about an hour after we’re done, the process seems less daunting.

Frying Pillows of Love ©2014

Frying Pillows of Love

Similarly, writing OneOffTwoWheels has gotten easier as this year has progressed because I’ve learned to face each post with a passion for delivering a satisfying read.  As many other bloggers can attest there’s usually so many topics one wants to cover its difficult to focus and finish one post that will have meaning.   I have written many posts that because of the timeliness of the topic, like lumpy crepe batter, never were completed because they did not meet my expectation of perfection in pressing words together.  In order to add a more interesting perspective, my goal for the next year is to get Greg to write some pieces for OneOffTwoWheels.  His viewpoint about life would be a positive addition to the site.

We started OneOffTwoWheels because we wanted to make a connection between being same-sex oriented and bicycling sport-loving humans; a connection I rarely see in mainstream bicycle websites unless the focus is on the innuendo built into wearing lycra shorts that expose one’s anatomy for all to see.   It would be easy to pepper this blog with photos and comments about how men in spandex fill out their Assos S7 Kuku Penthouse bike shorts, but we wanted to have a bit more class in our approach to bicycling.   Basically, I’d rather be cooking at the French Laundry than some fast food joint.   And hopefully our writing expresses some level of New York Times-style Op Ed.  And after years of not using my degree in broadcast communications I can finally tell my kids college does have value.

The Final Draft ©2014

The Final Draft

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed our work thus far.   Next week we’ll be in Charlotte at NAHBS, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, as assistants to the show directors so we’ll try to give you a behind the scene look at how this show comes together.   The people who run NAHBS are dedicated to giving people a glimpse of some of the best custom bicycles your hard earned money can buy.  The work that goes into the final product is really incredible.

As a happy birthday gift to all and a thank you for reading, here’s a photo of the mismatched helmets worn by the Polish National Bicycle Team.

Polish Bicycling Team - Their helmets don't match. Image From the Internet

Polish Bicycling Team – Their helmets don’t match.
Image From the Internet

The Modern Hotel – Boise


The Modern Hotel in Boise’s Linen District

Boise, ID, 20 January 2014 – You know how you feel when you see those really cool Kohler ads for bathroom fixtures on the back of most home design magazines?  How you imagine it would be so cool to own an awesome sink like that?  Well, dream no more because once you actually use the Kohler-style sink in the guest rooms at the Modern, you’ll never look at those ads the same way again.

We needed a little respite from life in Zion, Sister Holland (the Hubby’s online pseudonym which I’ll have to explain soon) was starting a new job soon so we wanted to make like Sister Bertrille and fly off to a far away place.  Alas, we got as far as Boise, Idaho.  Now you laugh, but if you enjoy the likes of beautiful downtown Provo, Utah, you just might find Boise similarly appealing.

We chose Boise as an escape because in January they had nicer biking weather, comfortable amenities and it wasn’t so far away.  Besides, I’d spend a good four years in Provo and that was an experience not to be soon repeated.

Found The Modern on Yelp and then found it on some travel sites practically giving away rooms, so we quick booked a nice double queen room with a balcony view.


The Modern Design

The place is just like everyone says, an old Travelodge that was renovated with postmodern cleanliness (definition:  No closet space, no fridge, thin walls) in mind.  The rooms are sparsely decorated with padded headboard walls and hanging pendant lights.  The TV is digital and hangs on the wall over a Plexiglas writing/computer surface with three empty shelves and a storage closet big enough for two coats and a shirt.


60’s Kitsch

I know this description sounds a bit negative, but if you are looking for something out of the ordinary in a hotel, stay at the Modern.   If you need more stay somewhere else.  We want to stay here again so the fewer people that actually book rooms the better for us.  There wasn’t much use for the extra bed either except for a place to throw our biking gear, but well, I won’t kiss and tell.


The Modern Hotel Boise

Now the shower, as has been highlighted in a dozen online reviews, has this interesting rain shower head–completely cool but not good for washing sweaty body parts after a long bike ride.  But certainly it’s good for “other things.”

I want to tell you about the bar before we get back to the sink.  The bar is intimate and swanky and the bartenders who are working in a state where they can actually use their own judgment to mix a drink will knock your socks off.   Have a “Layover.”  Really, have just one because the Mr. and I had two each and barely made it up the stairs back to our room afterward.  Damn what a tasty concoction of Bourbon, peated caramel syrup in a smoked salt edged glass.


The Modern Hotel Bar

OK so you walk into this minimalist hotel room and take in the creative renovation, wander into the bathroom and marvel at the nicely done shower, turn and there you see 4 square feet of flat wide open porcelain sink–more a tablet than sink.  The drain sits directly under the faucet (the fault with the sink).  This looks all well and beautiful until you have to use it.   When its time for bed, brush your teeth and spit deftly into the sink…  wait, go have another Layover because the way the sink doesn’t drain shouldn’t be viewed with sober eyes.

The Modern is not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something different and out of the ordinary, close to town and far away from family, then the Modern is for you.   And if you need a wad of amenities, there are plenty of much more suitable choices in town.  Whether you stay here or not stop in to the Modern Bar; its one of the hippest joints in Boise–yea, its that good.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Where to eat after you’ve won the Tour of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT, 23 November 2013 – I think we all can agree bike riding is good for your appetite and there are times you need a little more wow-factor than a free-ninety-nine PBR and a burger to satisfy that primal need for sustenance after a long day in the saddle.  After all there’s a time for celebrating like the KOM you wish you were, right?  And if you’re looking for someplace to celebrate your latest podium-worthy win, I suggest you try someplace with a little more panache than your usual post-win hangout.  Why not try putting on some Ritz and head over to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in downtown SL,UT.


For the uninitiated Ruth’s Chris is a steakhouse chain that has it’s humble beginnings in NOLA about the same time I was learning to walk.  Yes, that’s a long time ago but it means this place has a history going back to when Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney first started concocting plans to take over the world.  Luckily, more rational heads prevailed as did Ruth’s little steak joint.   Used to be you’d be required to wear a jacket at Ruth’s but times have changed in this respect, as well.  Though, on one visit we noticed a gentleman wearing his best Hanes I wouldn’t suggest following his lead since you’re going to drop a Ben Franklin and a few Alexander Hamilton’s on your meal it might be nice to dress with a bit more aplomb-like on Sunday but not.

You go to Ruth’s Chris for the steaks of course  They’re big, like Texas big, a whole pound of beef flesh in one serving and you can kindly ask your server to split it at the table.  Now if I had to suggest the perfect steak to enjoy when you’re dining at this joint it would be the New York Strip, Strip or club steak (if you’re visiting from the other side of the pond).  The strip is a well-marbled piece of prime beef that comes from the short loin.  Trust me, everyone goes for the tenderloin medallions but there’s a reason they have to wrap that little baby in bacon.  Without the bacon or some other pungent accompaniment this little-used muscle doesn’t have much flavor on its own.

Usually, in most parts of the world that is, you’ll want to enjoy a little libation, and preferably a good red wine with your libra pondo of steak.   Fear not, Ruth’s has an extensive selection of some of the best wines for your dinner if you happen to lean that way.  Granted Sister Holland would divorce me quicker than a New York minute if I even picked up the wine list; but it’s fun to dream anyway.  Since hopefully you’re not planning to order a good ol’ PBR as I so thoughtlessly suggested in my introductions you will find some beautiful bottles of such notable “high end” (don’t you just love that term?!?) wines from Shafer, Hess and Caymus, among others.

Ruth’s Chis isn’t a restaurant many of us would frequent on a regular basis, but if you’re going to celebrate, this is the place.  After the valet takes your vehicle safely off your hands for the evening, and as his assistant holds the door for you welcoming you and your party into Ruth’s realm, the maître d’hôtel will take your coats and ask what you’re celebrating for the evening.  The answer to this simple question will set off a waterfall of surprises to come.  Your table will have been decorated with confetti and a congratulatory card as you and your party are escorted to your assigned table.  You’ll also enjoy learning at the end of the meal that dessert is on Ruth.  Throughout the meal, the staff will stop by asking about the reason for your good fortune as they serve and cater to your every desire.

Ruth’s Chris may not be the trendiest spot in Salt City but when a celebration calls for white tablecloths and a reason to get dressed up, it should be on your short list of places that’ll make you feel special after your big win.

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