Photo: Maurice Tierney
The third Una Pizza Bike Show was held on a pleasant Sunday afternoon December 14, when 250 or so bike and pizza lovers gathered in the small industrial space in the South of Market Area in San Francisco.
The reason? A casual gathering of some of the world’s best bicycle frame and parts makers, in the adopted city where Una Pizza Napoletana owner Anthony Mangieri has called home since 2010 after relocating his pizzeria from the East Village in New York City. Soulcraft Bicycle owner Sean Walling works with Mangieri to organize the event, the third since March 2011. Mangieri is the one-man pizza maker, staying busy in the center of his workspace while all around him his servers and assistants are hustling to keep everyone smiling and well fed.
“I mostly enjoy seeing the place busy and people all talking, laughing and eating,” Mangieri said. “Folks enjoying the handmade work of the builders, you know? Also, it’s a good chance for many of us to reconnect and catch up.”
Gallery: Badges and Bicycles
Photos: David Klayton
Mangieri’s expectations for the event are simple.
“First, that the pizza comes out well and I feel mostly good about the pizza,” he said.
“Second, that all the builders feel at home and welcomed, and that Sean feels that it is worth it for him and fun. I feel a large connection with the builders for many reasons, including—as Bruce Gordon says—”people who actually make their own shit.” It’s hard to make a living as an American artisan, be it bikes or pizza if you do everything basically by yourself.”
Several attending frame builders agreed with Mangieri.
“Good food is always a draw and the people,” Santa Rosa framebuilder Jeremy Sycip said. “It’s a great group of people to hang out with and help each other promote our bikes.”
Rock Lobster’s Paul Sadoff was talking with customers, friends and fellow builders throughout the day.
Read our report from the 2012 Bike + Pizza Show.
“The best part of the show is being able to hang out with framebuilder friends who I don’t get to see often enough,” the Santa Cruz builder said. “Also, it’s great to see the master of ceremonies, Anthony. He’s a class individual and knows what it is like to always be in pursuit of higher standards in your personal craft. I also like the pizza ! In terms of promotion I’m sure that it does not hurt to be at the show but it is not my biggest reason for being there. I like the whole idea of a show that does not involve hotels, trophies or convention centers with bad air.” Fellow Santa Cruz builder John Caletti chimed in.
Photos: Maurice Tierney
“It’s fun to see the other builders and friends, hang out and catch up,” Caletti added. “It’s great to see the appreciation, enthusiasm and support for unique, quality, custom, handmade bikes. The pizza is delicious and SF is a fun spot.”
Some makers, like Steve Rex and Blue Collar’s Robert Ives, came from as far away as Sacramento. Others, like Paul Components owner Paul Price, came from Chico.
“The pizza and vibe are great,” Price said. “The venue is tight but that just makes it better. There is a lot of love there, for bikes and friends alike.”
Walling also conceived a Meet Your Maker ride series, rounding up the same friends and fellow makers on organized group rides open to the public all around the Bay Area. The intent is to provide another casual environment for builders, customers and potential customers to share saddle time and get acquainted. I asked a few builders if Meet Your Maker or the Una Pizza Bike Show has it led to a spike in sales.
“I’m not really sure if the event or the MYM rides has really affected my business just yet,” Sycip explained. “But it’s a way to get my bikes seen and just like most trade shows, it takes a little while for the name to get out there. So I think the more events like this and rides we do, the better for the brand and more people become aware of hand made bikes and the people who make them.” Price agreed.
“It’s really hard to quantify but I know it’s a positive,” he added. “I like to meet new customers, or potential customers. I love bikes and it’s always fun to see the different builds, what people do with our products, and of course we get to ride together which was a stroke of genius. Sean Walling deserves a lot more credit than he gets for getting the thing of the ground and being the unofficial official non-paid secretary, janitor, and fireman.” Caletti added his two cents.
“It’s hard to say if these events impact my sales, but I’ve got some new friends, better camaraderie with other builders and a few more people out there are familiar with me, my bikes and what I do,” he explained.
“I’ve enjoyed the great rides with my peers and customers, and potential customers,” Retrotec’s Curtis Inglis said. “It’s nice to get out on bikes with all your peers and really have time to chat and get to know people better. I’ve known some of the other builders for over 20 years and we’re just now really getting a chance to hang out due to these types of events.”
There’s also been some discussion about a NorCal builders show in Sonoma County. I asked Walling to elaborate.
“We’ve been talking about this for years,” he said. “As we all get older and more crotchety, fewer of us have the time, energy, or desire to travel to shows like we used to. So if things fall into place maybe we’ll get it together for a show this summer.”