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Update: Serious doubts about Eurobike Portland

Posted by on November 17th, 2006 at 3:50 pm


With each passing day, the likelihood of Messe Friedrichshafen (the company behind Eurobike) following through with their announcement to bring a major bicycle trade show to Portland grows slimmer.

With only ten months left until their alleged show, they still have not confirmed dates, approached exhibitors, or even given it a name. Even as skepticism builds, they haven’t communicated with the media since the initial announcement. I would expect that if they were serious, they’d want as much positive spin and PR as they could get.

Does this seem fishy to anyone else?

“I’m not holding my breath for them coming in 2007.”
– Mark Pizzuti, Oregon Convention Center

Today I ventured downtown to check out the NBDA Super Seminar. Many industry insiders were there and most of them seemed to share my skepticism.

One of them — who didn’t want me to use his name — said the whole thing seems, “half-baked” and that he “wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t even happen.”

**Update: I have spoken with Matt Pizzuti, the marketing and sales director for the Oregon Convention Center. Pizzuti has been the primary contact with Messe Friedrichshafen and says,

“I’m not holding my breath for them coming in 2007. The indication we’re getting is that they’re scrapping their plans for 2007 to better prepare for 2008. The feeling I’ve gotten is that they’re still getting their team together.”

Something is definitely wrong with this picture. It just doesn’t add up.

Theories abound…

Did they make the announcement just to test the waters and have now pulled back because the response was not as good as expected?

Was the initial announcement a mistake that was leaked to the press before they were ready?

Whatever’s going on I have a growing suspicion that we won’t be seeing a Eurobike Portland anytime soon. If my hunch is correct, than that’s really too bad. Nearly everyone I’ve spoken with says Messe Friedrichshafen’s Eurobike is the cream of the trade show crop and I bet they would have put on an awesome show.

Hey Don Walker…is it too late to bring your show here? No hard feelings huh?

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  • Cate November 17, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    So everyone is operating on speculation? Why doesn’t someone ask the people who know?

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  • Jonathan Maus November 17, 2006 at 5:03 pm


    And who would that be?

    Messe Friedrichshafen’s USA rep has not returned phone calls or emails…and given POVA’s past handling of all this I doubt they’d be forthcoming with details.

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  • Cate November 17, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    “I doubt they’d be forthcoming with details.” Won’t know unless you ask… 🙂

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  • Jonathan Maus November 17, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    you’re right. I should call them Monday. Should have called them a while ago.

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  • SKIDmark November 17, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    I would like to thank POVA for running the North American Handmade Bicycle Show out of town. How many framebuilders are there in Portland and the rest of Oregon? At least six, I think. And how many mass-produced POS manufacturers call Oregon their home? None. They are all in the Far East even if the sticker on the seat tube says USA.

    Don Walker, please bring your show back here, if not this year, maybe next year. Once again thanks POVA. You really have your hand on the pulse of the bike community.

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  • Tim Jackson November 17, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    W were just talking about this today; it seems like they were floating a weather balloon to test the climate. I agree that it doesn’t look good at this point.

    I’m curious as to what their current thinking is.

    I think you’ve done a great job covering this and I know you’re asking the right questions of the ridght folks. And yet nobody knows- that to me is very, very telling.

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  • Sean November 18, 2006 at 9:12 am

    Ditto to SKIDmark. As a new builder without the financial resources to travel to NAHBS I was looking forward to the show coming to Portland. Thanks to POVA for everything they have recently done.

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  • beth November 18, 2006 at 10:39 am

    What of all the local framebuilders put on a show of their own without Don Walker’s assistance? What if every bike retailer in town who also sells handbuilt frames ponied up a little something to rent a hall (it needen’t be the onvention Center; it could be Liberty Hall or something else) on a Sunday and we all got together to celebrate a truly Portland event? What if added a All Comers’ handbuilt bikeLOVE show to the mix — take your coolest handbuilt bike, give it a bath and gussie it up and bring it down to show off? (I’d bring my Rivvy for sure).

    If every Portland builder brought two or three of their pieces, gave lectures and demos and schooled the bike loving public on exactly WHY a handbuilt bike is a fantastic thing, a joy to behold and to ride, they might not need Don Walker. They could do it themselves.

    Whaddya say?

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  • Jonathan Maus November 18, 2006 at 11:00 am


    You mean something like this?


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  • SKIDmark November 19, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    I don’t think that just our local framebuilders have enough “clout” to bring in the component vendors as well. As Don Walker pointed out, every frame has to get built up with parts and those manufacturers should be present along with the frames.

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  • Jeremy November 20, 2006 at 9:01 am

    You people whining about POVA ‘making’ the North American Handmade Bicycle Show go elsewhere need to re access your collective perspective. Don Walker chose to take the show elsewhere. No one at POVA ‘made’ him do anything. If he wants his show in Portland it will be in Portland. Contrary to your collective nay saying, Don Walker is free to do as he chooses.

    I’m not defending POVA; I’m questioning the integrity of Don Walker. In Jonathan’s article, (http://bikeportland.org/2006/10/31/eurobike-portland-means-no-nahbs/) Don states, “We are a stand-alone event and I’m not willing to be in a market where there’s already an industry show. We’d be known as ‘that other show’ and I see that a major negative.”

    Don believes that his show cannot stand on its own merits. What’s more, he does not believe that his show would benefit from a market primed by having more than one show. I believe Don Walker has lost his common sense. It sounds like an ego play to me. His exhibitors will go to the show(s) that is(are) most important to their preferred markets. If that’s Eurobike, so be it. Stick to building a quality product for your core market, Don, and the exhibitors, media and visitors will follow.

    POVA shouldn’t have let un-baked cake slip out of the oven as it no doubt influenced the ego-driven decision of Mr. Walker. This is not in question. POVA made a public mistake. Perhaps we should forgive them for not understanding the sensitive personal/political nature of the cycling tradeshow and industry market (sarcastic). At the end of the day, Don Walker decided to pull Portland out of contention because of his own, seemingly ego-driven reasons. He appears that he wanted to have some high sense of control and he felt compromised by the announcement, so he bolted.

    If Portland is so hot on a framebuilders show, then maybe everyone complaining about this issue should put one together for Northwest builders themselves. Start small and see if it sticks. Quit complaining about how someone is always messing something up; start making a change yourself. What a waste of time.

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  • Jonathan Maus November 20, 2006 at 9:13 am


    Thanks for your input.

    We have done a show of our own…The Made in Portland Bicycle Show and Art Exhibition.

    Full recap here

    Photo gallery here

    We packed City Hall to the gills..and yes, there’s a possibility this show will happen again.

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  • Jeremy November 20, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Exactly! Then we should let Don Walker go and focus on what actually worked.


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  • Paul November 20, 2006 at 11:27 am

    I can understand Don Walker’s action in this. His advertising budget is tiny compared to Eurobike. What will make the NAHBS successful is not the hardcore cyclists who have their finger on the pulse. To get 10-15,000 people through the door, he needs a lot of the cycling mainstream to be there. But these people aren’t likely to go to two bike shows in a year.

    It’s not a matter of ego or integrity, it’s a matter of building a financially feasible show that we can all enjoy for years to come.

    I agree with Jeremy that POVA blew it. I also agree that forgiveness and understanding are in order. I strongly disagree that Don Walker should be burned at the stake because his business instinct does not coincide with what Jeremy wanted.

    I’d probably visit a regional show, because I’d be more likely to purchase from a regional builder that I can visit from time to time. But I’d sure like to check out all the other cool frames exhibited at a nationwide/international show.

    Who knows? Maybe there is still a chance that NAHBS will come to Portland. A lot of that is up to the Portland cycling community.

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  • SKIDmark November 20, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    I think Don Walker knows that the executives at the big component manufacturers are gonna go where there will be more sales, and that is at a mass-production oriented trade show. It has nothing to do with “merit” (unless by merit you simply mean profit), it has to do with production numbers. Companies like Trek, Bianchi, etc. simply make more bikes than any low-production frame builder. Companies like Magna and Pacific have the biggest production numbers and profits, does that mean they make the best bikes? I think there is much more “merit” in taking some pride in your craftsmanship and building a bicycle without compromises in quality. I hope I can afford one sometime soon, or make one myself when I develop the skill.

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