NAHBS 2012 Sacramento: Day 1 recap

By Karen Brooks

In a word, it was great. The first day of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show was busy, interesting, and fun. Despite prepping coverage from this show for a number of years, I’ve never actually been to it myself, so it was especially cool to get to see everything in person.

Here’s the front of the convention center, which is gorgeous.

The first builder I visited happened to be the only female at the show. Megan Dean makes track and street frames under the (intriguing) name Moth Attack. She does this not just because track frames are cool to ride on the street, but because she’s heavily involved in track racing herself, in actual velodromes – a refreshing change. Note the large, tapered head tube, something that makes a lot of sense for the short, powerful sprints that happen on the track; Megan seems to be one of few who’s figured this out, and had to search far and wide for a carbon fork with a tapered steerer. She also works at the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition for a nice melding of advocacy and artistry.

One of the coolest things by far was the simple but effective Naked booth. Sam Whittingham and employee Aran rode their show bikes from Eureka to Sacramento and right on in to the show floor, proving that their bikes weren’t for show only. The booth consisted of just the two bikes, road dirt and all, and a backdrop of photos they took along the way. Aran’s bike is a long, low, and gorgeous thing with mounting points for six (count ‘em, six) panniers, and built-in head- and taillights.

Here Sam talks to an admirer of his more traditional tourer. Check out the story of their trip at their website.

Josh Boisclair is a new builder looking to establish himself at the show with this keg bike. Good choice, Josh. He rode in to the show in Sacramento from Oakland, proving that it’s functional – another smart move, especially for a heavy-duty cargo bike.

His inspiration came from an old photo of a beer-delivery bike hauling three small kegs and a case of bottles. It was the first time he’d seen such a big load on a cargo bike with only two wheels, and set out to interpret the idea for himself. Josh works for an importer, My Dutch Bike, that specializes, naturally, in bakfiets and Dutch city bikes.

A view of the show floor. This was actually a fairly quiet moment – it was quite busy for a weekday.

The bike parking area was an interesting cross-section of local transportation. Note the tall bike. The “lot” was mostly full by the mid-afternoon. There might be no spots left tomorrow.

NAHBS is definitely the show for ogling fine handmade tools just as much as fine handmade bikes. I visited a purveyor of total bike-geek fetish items: the aptly named Wheel Fanatyk from Seattle, where I drooled over this beautifully meticulous German wheel truing stand by the brand name of P&K Lie. Among its features are a pair of non-linear gauges that have rollers you press up against the rim. Give the wheel one spin, and the dial shows the variance from true, and a sweep indicator stays at the furthest point to show exactly how far off the rim is. The non-linear part means the gauges work on rims that are darn near taco’d.

Ric Hjertberg is an original wheel fanatic. Here he shows off an ingeniously simple wooden centering gauge made by his brother John.

Those gorgeous wooden rims are from Italian maker Ghisallo. They’ve appeared on NAHBS show bikes before, and it’s no wonder…

This was one of the coolest front ends I saw, from English builder Demon Frameworks.

A liger and a DeLorean at Italian brand Sarto’s space attracted plenty of attention.

Our new booth setup looked so pro I accidentally walked right past it a few times… thanks to Andrew for hooking it up!

Joseph Ahearne (far right) shows off his wares to a small crowd. We’ll definitely have more about his bikes later.

Like all good bike shows and events, NAHBS is also somewhat of a family reunion. Here Maurice greets Elayna Caldwell and Joe Parkin’s newest family member, little Nico. You can’t see it here, but he was rocking a Mötorhead shirt.

 

 
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