Monday, May 16, 2011

An appeal to my readership

Well, it isn't 2012 yet but the word is out -the big Handbuilt bicycle show will be coming back to the west coast, to Sacramento in particular. You have read my views on the whole concept of bike shows, bikes as rolling art, bikes as something to obsess about..........all of the things that make a bike show what it is. You all know by now that I do support the gathering of frame builders and am in fact quite enthusiastic about it , even if some if the stuff at bike shows can make me gag violently. The fact that shows like this even exist is a real luxury for old geezers like me who started building frames when just finding a couple of tubes was an adventure.
I have given my opinions to all of you freely , practically projectile vomiting them on you in vegetal streams of unconsciousness at times-this was for our mutual amusement, of course. I have called out all sorts of dastardly and unsavory practices in my trade and am not sorry to have done so. My feet will be held to the fire for all of my numerous failings and I accept the punishment , however painful it may be. My bretheren must be able to endure the fire if they decide that they don't need to do the right thing by the folks that pay them . Now, at this time I am asking you- the readers of this blog for your opinion , or vote. Should I display at the upcoming 2012 NAHMBS ?
O.k., so why am I asking all of you ? Obviously , I'm not able to make this decision without checking in with the folks that have bothered to read all of my rants. What I'm going to do is to put together a multiple-choice quiz like I have in some earlier posts. Yes, I know I stole the idea from the NYC bike snob but it is a good idea and I doubt that he would mind at all.

Reasons to have a booth at the show :
I should be at the 2012 show because:
A. I would maybe sell some frames
B. I would maybe sell some socks
C. I would maybe sell a display bike
D. I would maybe totally sell out.

The show interests me because:
A. There are a lot of cool bikes there
B. There are a lot of cool people there
C. There are a lot of uncool bikes there
D. There are a lot of creepy uncool people there , hell-I might be there !

Being at the show is in my best interest because:
A. It is the best way for me to see what everyone else is doing
B. It is the best way to see what everyone else isn't doing
C. It is the best way to avoid doing something
D. I can't help it, I'm a sucker for bikes
E. My one dimensional life is centered here

Seeing folks at the show will be great because:
A. We get to share ideas about the trade
B. We get to share jokes about the trade
C. We get to be jokes of the trade
D. I get to walk the show and try to find out if anyone has become paranoid because of this blog

The chance of getting an award at the show would be :
A. Truly overwhelming, even for a cynic like me
B. Very puzzling , especially for a cynic like me
C. Extremely hilarious for a cynic like me
D. A chance for me to do an impression of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey pop with the trophy

Having three full days to talk and breathe bikes would be:
A. Gosh, such a dream....
B. Shit, that's what I do five days a week
C. A recipie for a migraine
D. I guess it depends on who was in the booth with me...

What I hope to gain from the show....if i go is :
A. A better understanding of the trends of today
B. A better misunderstanding of the trends of today
C. A better understanding of how much is misunderstood about the trends of today
D. All of the above

If I build a 'special bike' for the show it should be :
A. Entirely crafted from stainless steel
B. It should be entirely crafted from bamboo
C. It should be wrapped in unborn pony hide
D. It should have no eyes.........
E. It should have no ears..........
F. fill in the rest yourself if you remember the joke...

Upon leaving the show I hope to come away with :
A. Good memories of good times with friends
B. So-so memories of well, kind of lousy times with friends
C. Stuff I would really like to forget but might have a tough time doing so.....
D. Enough gas money to get home

There you go, folks. Be sure and write in and tell me if you think I should go and be part of the scrum that is the handbuilt bike show. I value your input more than you would think. This is a difficult decision for me, even with the show being so close to where I live and knowing that so much material for this blog would be waiting for me. Just the same , I only want to do it if it is the right thing to do. Thanks and good night.


  1. I say go. You can be who you are and do what you do and that's what it's about... at least that's what it could be about... for you.

  2. I think you should buy the smallest display space you can and build a display out of 2x4's and chewing gum. Put up a sign that reads only: "Rock Lobster, Bikes You Can Ride" and be as minimalist as possible. And since you'd be losing valuable work time, bring a stand and do your work there. Make it all real.

  3. Nope. Come out here & visit. Thinking about a Coconino Cycles family reunion 9-10-11.

  4. I think you should go since Sacramento is fairly close--if the show were far away, I'd say "no". Hopefully some of the visitors would then be interested in a builder in the region, come to Santa Cruz for a fitting, etc. I wouldn't build any special show bikes, but like Julie said, keep it "real". I like her "bikes you can ride" idea. Try to bring several types of bikes so visitors can see all your skills in different building methods and materials, etc. Also bring some of the CX team to help in the booth, etc. It would be a daunting task to do it solo, IMHO. I think the regional exposure to all sorts of cyclists could be worth the time and expense, not to mention networking with some other builders before and after the doors are open.

  5. Go ahead and attend; I don't see it as being a hypocritical act. But you have to change your mindset for the show: Think of it as an opportunity to drum up business rather than a tooth pulling.

    You should build a frames that might possibly sell at the show; why more builders don't do that; I don't know. Dave Kirk and Carl Strong get it because even if they don't sell at the show they can be offered on their web sites afterwards with little monetary loss. I could think of a zillion ideas, but consider what you do at the show as advertising expense, so you may sell a show frame at a discount or add an extra custom feature at no cost such as a pewter headbadge. The idea would be to sell enough of bikes/frames/paraphernalia to cover your show costs. Any time you do that you can consider it a very successful event.

    And to steal an idea from Saturday Night Live: You should have a live lobster in a tank at your booth. Post a sign that says, "Buy my frames or the lobster dies!"

  6. My vote is go as well. However, I think you should build a couple floor models of bikes you don't even offer. Play a little game to see if you can guess what the most ridiculous trend will be this year, turn the ridiculousness up to 11, build a completely unconventional lame bike and just hang a sign from it that says "I could if I wanted to" and put a price tag of 20,000$ on it. I play it over in my head and goes awesome every time.

  7. I vote go! Even though you might not be a "fancy" framebuilder you're still one of the best at building no-nonsense race bikes.

  8. I say go and have a good time. Don't take it too seriously and bring your guitar. Think of it as the Oakland Roadster Show of bikes. I would like to meet you as I am an old timer as well and love all the traditional aspects of the things I have a passion for; bikes, guitars, motorcycles, and music.

  9. Go ...hold an unsanctioned awards ceremony some place like The Hideaway recognizing the bike show categories described in your March 1 post. As a counterpoint to unrideable NAHBS entries let Chapin do a Caesars Palace style CX bike jump over a line of the latest 36 inch wheel stainless lugged art.

  10. It is a lot of money and may not increase your sales numbers.

  11. Sacto has a large racing community, and even w/Merco that weekend, lots will attend; you make kick-ass race bikes, so I say go.

  12. These are all good suggestions, particularly the fictional awards.I might make some trophies and hide them under my table and leave them off at the various builders booths when they are taking a lunch or smoke break. What a treat to come back from your break and see an award in your booth....

  13. Paul, you should go. You might not do art-bikes, but what you do-do is still beautiful. Pun intended.

    Every one of the bikes you've built me is something I'm immensely proud to ride and I wouldn't trade any of them for anyone else's work. I'm sure there will be other riders (i.e. riders, not custom frame fanboys) who will be excited to see your bikes and meet you.

    And if they're not, I'll be there and I'll fight them with my bare hands.