By Shannon Mominee
If you like custom frames, clever accessories, cool components, and good people the Philly Bike Expo is the place to be. Dennis Jordan of The Leather Arts Store displayed his handmade toptube leather wine bottle holsters, saddlebags, belts, and shoulder bags. Jeff Williams’ booth featured bike-themed paintings. A display of vintage Schwinn Paramount track and road bikes were on display across from a sprint competition sponsored by RELoad Bags.
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Fat bikes even infiltrated the show and an interesting example of one was Design Logic’s Da-Phat. It’s partially a cargo bike made from straight gauge 4130 Chrmoly with space in the frame for a Surly Lou 4.8” tire and a BMX inspired front-end. There’s even a hitch accessory that bolts to the frame for pulling a flatbed trailer.
Crowds cheered, raffles and giveaways were plentiful, and in addition to the standard glass of beer being carried around, there was cheese! Four cubed varieties on toothpicks from the Cabot Creamery Co-Op. My favorite was the habanero.
The atmosphere of the event was electrifying and I was most impressed by the number of cyclists that rode to the convention center. Sure it was a windy and cold Saturday morning, but there were so many bicycles that the indoor bike valet ran out space.
The array of cargo bikes delivering families was a spectacle in itself and no one seemed to mind that these extra large cycles were parked inside the convention center, tucked neatly to the side. I especially liked the BikeDozer, a cargo bike resembling a bulldozer. That’s one lucky kid that gets to ride shotgun in the scoop. Other children arrived in covered cargo areas that appeared to have roots in Amish buggies, and other children sat in the cargo spaces munching on popcorn.
Expo hosts and organizers Bilenky Cycle Works had their own cargo bike on hand, which had a massive front bed and was probably easier to navigate through the Philly streets than an unleaded vehicle.
The people make the event what it is and are responsible for providing the flavor. I met a cyclist named “Dub” from Atlanta that revealed he chased our van through Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood because he thought we knew were the party was. Unfortunately for him, we were just looking for a place to eat.
Kurt Boone, a New York cycle-journalist, carried copies of his paperback book “CMWC: The Worlds Fastest Bicycle Messenger” a depiction of the 2012 Cycle Messenger World Championships that took place in Chicago. Riders in tweed, riders in Lycra, riders in jean jackets adorned with their bike club, kids looking for stickers, couples and newbies are what make the Philly Bike Expo the success it is.