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.
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.
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.
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.
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.