Notes and photos from the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

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The show attracted a steady stream
of bike fans to Swan Island.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The fifth annual Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show kicked off Saturday at the Vigor Industries shipyard on Swan Island. The industrial setting served as the perfect backdrop for a showcase of talented welders and makers brought together by the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association. As hail and rain pounded outside, the exhibitors enjoyed a solid turnout of handmade bike fans eager to see their latest creations.

The first bike that caught my eye was a new model in the growing Cielo Cycles line. The “Cross Classic” is a flat-bar cyclocross rig that comes with fender eyelets, making it the perfect bike to “Ride to work all week and then race on the weekends,” said marketing guy Dylan Van Weelden…

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Across the aisle from Cielo was wooden helmet maker Dan Coyle. I first met Coyle back in March at the Portland Bike Show, and he’s continued to refine his product since then. He showed off several custom jobs, including an awesome pith helmet he made for a guy who’s going on a bike tour in South Africa. Coyle said he’s on the verge of moving toward more production runs (instead of custom work) and he’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign soon to help fund in-house machining, ongoing safety certifications, and marketing…

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Mr. Coyle.
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The pith helmet (modeled by Ethan Jewett).

Phil Ross and Jamie Nichols from Metrofiets are going strong as ever. They showed off one of their gorgeous cargo bikes that’s on its way to a customer in France (and it just happens to be painted Oregon Ducks green and yellow). As always, the bike has several new and nifty touches. Instead of stickers or paint, the logo is carved directly into the wooden cargo box. Phil also pointed out that the front light is mounted under the box, which has the benefit of illuminating the bright yellow rims and making them visible from the side…

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And then it was time to pay my new bike a visit. Joseph Ahearne is nearly done with so I’ll save detailed photos and thoughts until it’s all done and painted; but I can’t resist sharing just one…

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Joseph also showed a fantastic, fire-red commuter headed for a customer in Michigan. Some of the highlights include: stainless steel lugs and dropouts, Ghisalli wooden rims, Rohloff 14-speed internal hub, and chromed racks…

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Sam Beck was tired of seeing, “Crappy boomboxes duct taped to handlebars,” so he decided to make and sell custom, fully integrated bike sound systems. His new company, Blueshift Bike Sound has been up and running for three months and he was getting a lot of attention at the show. He’s sourced a waterproof speaker from California and he wraps it with a wooden speaker box and sets up all the wiring to attach it to your iPod or smartphone…

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It might seem strange that Renovo Hardwood Bicycles now makes a cruiser; but when you realize they have a showroom in the tony beach town of Sausalito, California, it starts to make sense. Check out their new “Beachwood” model…

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And then there was the “Mini Velo” from the expansive and wonderful mind of Wade Beauchamp (Vulture Cycles, Bend). This thing is 100% fun. It’s got 16-inch wheels, one (rather large) gear, and a stout frame and fork that just begs it to be ridden fast and cornered hard…

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I always enjoy the work of Eric Estlund (Winter Bicycles, Eugene). I didn’t get a chance to chat with him, but his bikes speak for themselves. I especially liked his matte-finished, avocado green, twin top tube city bike…

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Veteran local builder Andy Newlands straddles the old and new. He founded his Strawberry Cycles operation in 1971; but he’s far from a retro-grouch. Andy has been working with local prototyping company, Houserworks, to make plastic molds of fork crowns and other parts from a computer-rendered file and then sent to a 3-D printer. He can design a crown, have it printed out and tested, then have the file sent to a factory to be made — by computers. “It’s all computer-to-computer these days,” he said…

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I also ran into Ben Farver of Argonaut Cycles. Ben has recently re-emerged onto the scene after spending two years perfecting a new process to make custom carbon fiber frames. Instead of fitting tubes of carbon fiber to each other, Ben uses a “bladder-molded” process that produces whole frame parts in one piece (which makes them stronger and lighter). Usually molds are specific to one size, but Ben has figured out how to offer a full size run for each mold. Argonaut also offers “custom lay-ups” of different carbon fiber weaves depending on what ride characteristics a customer is looking for…

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On the other end of the spectrum from super-fast carbon fiber road bikes is touring bike specialist Jon Littleford (Littleford Custom Bicycles, Portland). Jon’s main show bike was his rendition of a Dutch mixte. This blue beauty has a Nuvinci rear hub, disc brakes, front and rear racks, and a comfortable, upright riding position…

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There are cargo bikes and then there is the Truck Trike. Bill Stites’ (Stites Design, Portland) creation is in a class by itself. Since I first checked in on Bill over two years ago, his trike has come a long way. This thing is a 285-pound vehicle with a 600 lb payload capacity, electric hub motors, motorcycle disc brakes, and a front end that’s built “Like a tank” with Stites’ proprietary steering and drivetrain systems. Stites has recently secured funding from a local bank which will help him move to a larger facility where he plans to focus on production. His ideal customers are urban delivery companies (Shift in Vancouver, BC uses one and B-Line PDX is testing them) and companies with large indoor warehouses (like Boeing). “I feel like the time is right for vehicles like this,” he says…

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Another interesting bike at the show was the “Penny” — an all copper creation from Mark Simmons (Belladonna Cycles, Portland). It was commissioned by Sacro Bosco Rims and it was on display in their booth…

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This isn’t all I saw. For more, check out the full photo gallery. If you want to see more of these great bikes (and the people who build them) in person, there’s still one full day of the show left! Roll down to the Vigor Industries Building No. 10 (5555 N. Channel Ave) on Swan Island from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday. More info on the event website.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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11 years ago

Wow. What a bunch of fun bikes. Thanks for the tour. The frame integrated racks are my favorite.

11 years ago

Bakfiets needs a model that has a larger cargo-hold and they should call it the “Emily Finch”.

11 years ago

Beautiful show and fine reporting. Thanks, Jonathan. (And YES, there should be an Emily Finch model!)

11 years ago

Jonathan, your bike looks awesome and super functional. Can’t wait to see it on the road.

11 years ago
Reply to  Skid

You’re all way better sleuths. Which bike are we talking about?

11 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Ulility bike in bare metal.

11 years ago

Great show, (& great bike Jonathan – who makes that centerstand, guess I’ll wait for the article).

11 years ago

Thanks for the reporting, was unable to make it this year.

11 years ago

Hey Jonathan, great to see you. The wheels on the Mini Velo are 20 inch.

Eric (Winter Bicycles)
11 years ago

Thanks for coming out and covering the show! Sorry to have missed the chance to catch up, it was pretty much non-stop!

The green bike was a tribute to the 1918 US Columbia “Military” model for the US government. A few more details and a bit of history can be found here:

Thanks again for coming out. We’re already in the planning stages for next years show- I can’t wait!

Bill Stites
11 years ago

Oh no!! the Truck Trike does not weigh a half ton! Comes in around 285 lbs., with batteries.
Vehicle weight + cargo capacity + driver = 1/2 ton.

Tom M
Tom M
11 years ago

I can believe that Renovo is making a cruiser. I got to test ride a few of their bikes awhile back. They ride really smoothly. And what’s a cruiser bike if not all about being smooth…