In late February Richmond, VA hosted the North American Hand Made Bike Show. Builders from all over came to show off their handiwork, and the whole weekend was a crazy mingle of bike people of all types. The city turned into a frenzy of side events and people were clamoring for floors to crash on as they rolled into town with anticipation of the center of attention, the bike show.
Although I’ve never experienced one, I would imagine it being similar to a Star Trek convention. The show kicked off on Friday and it was pretty spectacular and overwhelming if you call yourself a bike dork. Fancy lug work left and right, and quirky welders and industry types chattering away about their product. Twisted, square steel tubing akin to wrought iron, showing off near a booth with lashed and lacquered bamboo bikes; alongside another with plasma cut titanium dropouts. Richard Sachs was there, and his bikes were fucking incredible. It is hard to deny that most of the work at the show was fantastic, but there was only a fraction of what North America has to offer in terms of handmade bikes. The show consisted of a niche market, and the organizers’ are notorious for being too stubborn to let many into their old boys club. Needless to say the event had turned into a reason for many facets of the bicycle world to come out to Richmond.
The whole weekend was a blast, there are the highlights which included Friday night when some fancy shmancy dudes from San Fran came and threw an unannounced alley cat race with a shitload of sponsors, so naturally the Richmond bike messengers came and swept the podium and won all the big money (including a $2,000 handmade/hand painted bike and over $500 cash). Only to announce that they would be giving away the prizes again if you came to race their alley cat the next day. Nice move. On Saturday, the show continued and we held the previously mentioned bike polo tournament. Next to the polo courts there were kids riding BMX and fixed gear freestyle. At fist the track bike kids seemed bummed thinking that the BMX kids were crashing their event, but after a few beers everyone was jumping this 8 set and high-fiving. That night Recycles had their own hand made bike show with the guys from FBM, Profile Racing, and Brooklyn Machine Works. I’m pissed I missed that event. I was told the pizza, beer, and bro’s were fruitful. Enjoy the pictures.
– Sean McCormick