Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Highlights from the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show in Bend

Posted by on October 31st, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Bike show attendees gawk at the work and ask questions of of Eric Estlund of Eugene-based Winter Cycles.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Bend Cyclocross weekend-21

Steelman Cycles

Among all the crazy, costumed ‘cross racing this past weekend in Bend was also the annual Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. The show is put on by the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, which is a bike building trade organization based here in Portland.

Bend Cyclocross weekend-15

In Bend, the event felt like it had a bit less energy than it’s had in Portland; but it also wasn’t full of the builders’ friends just hanging out and drinking beer. The people that showed up, came to talk about buying a bike. I overheard several builders talking price and fit with prospective customers, which really is the point of these shows isn’t it?

Below are a few more of my images and notes from the show…

Can you believe there is only one handmade bike builder in Moab, Utah? His name is Pierra Chastain and he works under the Blaze Bicycles banner. He showed this classic and stoutly built mixte. I like how he matched the bike’s finish to the old leather saddle…

Eric Estlund of Winter Bicycles (Eugene) had an interesting request from a customer. Someone had him build a knife sharpening bike. Eric told me the design was based on a photo from Rome in the 1940s that was given to him by the customer. The bike is fully rideable with a quick swap of the chains and all the parts are fully serviceable even though it was purpose-built to sharpen knives. The bike is very sturdy (as Eric demonstrates below) thanks to a rear rack that swoops down and becomes a stand. There’s also a very nice box in the front to store different grinder bits and, of course, knives…

The next thing that caught my eye was the gorgeous paint job on an old bike made by Keith Anderson from Grants Pass, Oregon. Anderson builds bikes but he’s known in the industry as a master painter (many of the finest builders are his clients). The road bike below is one he built for a customer in 1988 that came back to him “through the grapevine.” It just so happened to fit him so he decided to give it a new paintjob. The result is amazing: a pleasing mix of pearl-white, pink, dark blue, and a bit of gold metallic thrown in to top it all off. The bike includes what might possibly be the most detailed and labor-intensive set of fenders I’ve seen…

Always pushing the design boundaries is Joseph Ahearne of Ahearne Cycles (Portland). Ahearne brought a few new bikes I haven’t seen before, including this awesome 29’er off-road touring bike. Check the integrated racks (with U-lock holster) and nice use of a Jeff Jones handlebar…

Joseph also unveiled a very interesting longtail. I didn’t get a chance to chat with him about it, but it’s basically a step through with an extended rear-end for carrying a person. How do I know it’s designed for a person and not just cargo? Joseph has welded on foot pegs…

And one last photo from the show… A nicely done city bike by Edwin Brown of Sprout Cycles (Portland).

Congrats to all the builders and to the folks at the OBCA for bringing the art and industry of handmade bicycles to Central Oregon.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Ron October 31, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Howdy, Jonathan–

    Great post; I’ve wanted one of those knife-sharpener bikes since I saw what was probably the same ’40s photo. What a cool business, to pedal around town sharpening knives.

    The post also brings up an interesting trivia point. Blaze Bicycles is Moab’s only framebuilder, but it’s new to Moab. Before that, Moab had been without a builder for around ten years–since Keith Anderson closed up shop and made his way to Oregon.

    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg

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  • Mark October 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Nice to see you at the show. The “knife” bike is very interesting. There are utility bikes, and then there are utility bikes! It was ironic, but I just saw a moped in Rome (Italy) that was a mobile knife sharpening vehicle. The fellow operating it was outside a market. Good to see that leg-powered utility is seeing a resurgence.

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  • Chris October 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I just read that there is a line of kids bikes being introduced in the US called Sprout. I hope Edwin trademarked his name.

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  • Dan October 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Go Eric E! Used to snowboard with him at Meadows in the long long ago. That knife sharpening bike is killer.

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    • Eric November 6, 2011 at 11:59 am

      Thanks, Dan!
      After a couple of abysmal workaholic seasons I’m going to be making an effort to get back on the hill more. Shoot me a line sometime- I’d love to come back up to Hood!

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  • aaron November 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Jonathan, Great to see you at the show. As always, thanks for the great images and blog about the event. I hope you had a great weekend in Bend! We sure did!

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  • Chuck November 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Thanks from Bend for bringing the show to Central Oregon. We had a great time.

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  • Jeff November 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

    That knife sharpening bike is pretty neat. However, no quality knife should ever be run on a grinding wheel unless taking out large nicks in the blade or fixing a broken tip. Grinding wheels remove far too much metal and significantly reduce the life of the knife. I could see it being popular at farmers markets for sharpening gardening tools.

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    • john November 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Wrong. Totally depends on the grinding wheel being used. A good fine grit friable wheel would work great. Plus a general kitchen knife does better, in my experience, with a coarse grind, giving the knife “mini serrations”, Well at least for slicing tomatoes..

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    • Brian E November 3, 2011 at 9:00 am

      All the knife manufacturing facilities that I have visited use grinding wheels. What don’t they know?

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      • mh November 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

        Wheel is fine for a blade that’s never had a good cutting edge; you’ve got to start somewhere.

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  • Shelly November 1, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Nice to see Brent Steelman back at it! And let’s not forget the Godlife Brewing for hosting this awesome event!!

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  • fredlf November 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I have found the ideal spokesperson for the sharpening bike:

    Clearly a match made in heaven.

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  • Rob November 4, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Cool cargo bike… it looks like it would ride a lot nicer than the typical long chainstay ones…

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  • Eric November 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Jonathan- thanks for coming out and covering the show! We had a great time out in Bend. We’re starting in on the plans for next year- hope to see you all there.

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