By contributor Parker Feierbach.
The third and final day of NAHBS followed a night of heavy snow, which was fortunate for those who attended but unfortunate for those who didn’t make it. As a result, the show floor was relatively opened up and somewhat quieter than the two preceding days. A perfect environment for the last few prizes to be given and the last few connections to be made.
Bishop Bikes out of Baltimore, Maryland is a long-standing, much praised name in the building world, and his work effortlessly helps this commendation stand to reason. In fact, there’s a reason that he keeps getting featured on this blog. The pieces that he presented at the NAHBS this year will no doubt make it on here of their own accord as we proceed forth into this year, but as of this post, those he featured at the show were all masterpieces in their own right, including the winner of best road frame, a bi-laminate road frame that almost looked like an homage to M.C.Escher.
An appealing and exciting combination at this year’s NAHBS was the emergence of Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira’s new brand, Breadwinner Cycles. The combination of styles from both Oregon-based builders gave birth to six steel frames to fit various purposes. The attempt to intercede modern components with classic styling was a continual feature at this year’s NAHBS, and there are few who did quite so elegantly as Breadwinner Cycles.
Geekhouse Bikes is a Boston, Massachusetts shop that unveiled a carefully thought-out booth to display their bicycles. To the show floor they brought a road-gone-randonneur frame that was retooled for this year’s show, a highly functional porter/city bike with a custom front rack, and a vibrant, Gates carbon-drive ‘cross bike to make mud look like an accessory.
I, as not much more than an acolyte in the cycling world, did not realize that inserting a carbon drive actually requires a splitting of the frame somewhere to allow for installation.
An interesting and oft-gasped-at attendee at the show was the Czech Republic’s Festka Bicycles. Though they did come in with multiple frames, their real attention-hog was an all chrome, pink to black fade ‘Motol Chrom’ track bicycle. The utter simplicity of the steel frame’s fillet-brazed build is complimented by 3T Ltd contoured carbon stem / bar combo and a White Industries drive train.
One of a few grand privileges from final day’s perusal included the permission to shoot Ken Spoltmann’s ‘Owen’ wooden bicycle, based out of Michigan. As a former boat builder from New Zealand, he decided to try his hand at bike construction and made a frame modeled on an old Softride bicycle. The main body of the bicycle is made of a honeycomb structure covered with an ash exterior, with the rear stays and seat arm made of solid ash. Additionally, I visited the Brompton folding bicycle stall, and spoke to Kevin of Herobike, an organization working to reinstall industry into the dying town of Greensboro, Alabama.
Finally, one of my personally favorite moments from the NAHBS was speaking with Philip Ross and James Nichols of Metrofiets Bicycles, based in Portland, Oregon. Metrofiets has been making cargo bicycles since 2007, unsurprising for its town of origin. The frames are made of custom drawn 4130 steel and TIG welded, and are surprisingly light (if you were to see Phil’s Facebook pictures of the ‘Standard’ held over his head, you’d agree). The bike present at the show outfitted with Chris King components. Thanks to Chelsea Myslik for modeling the frame.
A big thanks to Shimano for making this year’s NAHBS possible. It was a pleasure conversing with all the great minds of the cycling world, and I want to thank Adam specifically for letting me write these posts.
(Editor’s note: I’d like to thank Parker for taking the time to cover the 2013 NAHBS on behalf of Cycle EXIF. It’s been a great insight into the Show, for those of us who were unable to attend.)