What’s that old saw about living somewhere, but never taking advantage of its attractions? That was me this weekend. Austin, Texas hosted the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) and I didn’t go.
However, it was hard to miss, even away from the Convention Center venue. Saturday night, Bicycle Sport Shop hosted a little party (hundreds came) in conjunction with the show. They encouraged people to ride their bikes to the party, and those who owned handmade bikes were allowed to bring them inside the store and exhibit them. I turned out for that event, although I wondered if the big crowd was there for the bikes, or for the free beer and ice cream.
These are just some of the bikes people rode to the party. The 70-degree evening was perfect for a night ride. Only a few cars got to use the shop’s parking lot.
Inside, one attendee puts his own handmade bike on a rack while others travel the aisles to look the bikes over.
Some of the exhibitors at the show were at the store too, displaying some of their bikes. Co-Motion had a nice corner of the store, perhaps because Bicycle Sports Shop carries Co-Motion bikes.
A Co-Motion Nor’Wester touring bike fitted out as a commuter. Note the wooden fenders.
This road bike by Austin-based Alchemy Bicycles attracted a lot of attention.
So, after seeing all these bikes and people, am I sorry I didn’t swing by the Convention Center and take in the real show? Not really. Handmade bikes are beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, but for me, they’re out of my league. I doubt I’ll ever own a handmade bike, both because of their cost (although some seem to be priced in line with the higher-end offerings of the mass production bike companies), and because of what I consider my relative lack of sophistication about bikes. I’m perfectly happy with the Specialized Allez I own, and I see myself making upgrades to it before I pop for a whole new bike, and a custom built one at that. But I guess I can always dream.