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“Low levels of interest” leads to cancellation of Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

Posted by on August 6th, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Fans of great bikes stroll the aisles in the 2012 Oregon Handmade Bike Show held at the Vigor Industries shipyard on Swan Island.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

“Our hope is to remake the show with an eye toward the future.”
— Dave Levy, Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association president

Organizers of the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show have called off their marquee event — for the first time since it began 11 years ago.

In a message to vendors, fans, and sponsors, Dave Levy, president of Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, the nonprofit trade association behind the event, wrote, “It is with a heavy heart we have decided to cancel the show… 2018 has been the year we have seen the lowest level of interest in the OHBS, the number of builders who have chosen to sign up is so low the OBCA board feels we cannot put on a show we can be proud of, and allow the builders to present well.” Levy said the organization will refund vendor fees that have already been paid.

Last year when the event was held in a warehouse just north of the St. Johns Bridge, over two dozen vendors shared their creations with an appreciative crowd. But excitement about the event has tapered in recent years as the local framebuilding scene has cooled considerably since its heyday in the mid-to-late 2000s.

We reached out to a few vendors who’ve displayed at the OHBS for several years to hear what they think.

Josh Liberles at the 2015 show.

Joshua Liberles of HiFi Components said the 2017 show continued a trend of low attendance numbers — from both the public and the industry. “With the time and expense involved in putting together a booth, a builder (or wheel company) needs to be confident that the turnout will merit the work and money put in. There’s something of a catch-22 at play, too: over the last several years, some of the bigger local builders have stopped taking part in events like this, and they are certainly a draw for attendees.”

Portland-based bike builder Joseph Ahearne of Ahearne Cycles said the OHBS was his favorite show because it was easiest for him to attend. But he understands why the number of builders might have dwindled. “I think it’s harder than ever to make money as a bike builder and Portland is getting more expensive as a place to live, and as a place to find affordable shop space,” he shared with us via email this morning. “At some point the numbers don’t pan out. It’s never been easy, but now, the bike industry is changing, going more online, making it even more difficult for those of us who work with lower quantities and higher prices. Everything in the industry is going in the other direction.”

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Joseph Ahearne at the 2017 show.

Ahearne also thinks this cancellation might illustrate larger trends in our ever-changing city.

“There’s a shift in the community, what felt for a long time like a big Portland family has changed,” he wrote. “It’s like all the kids grew up and left for college or something, and now Portland wants to be like other big cities, despite some of us with our nostalgia for the cheaper, grittier days. Newer members to the community don’t seem to want the old edgy Portland so much as a cleaner, more upscale living and shopping experience. Which is pushing a lot of people out.” Ahearne has also noted a significant decrease in the number of local builders.

Dwan Shepard, owner of Eugene-based Co-Motion Cycles, thinks the show has never really found the “magic formula” it needs for sustained success. Last year’s venue was “cool,” he shared, but it’s out-of-the-way location might have kept many people away. “The show is full of lovely, interesting, kind and lovely people. Most I’m sure would come year after year if the show could generate good attendance in a hall that people could find, with plenty of fun and interesting reasons for them to make an appearance.”

Shepard estimated last year’s show drew only about 200 people. Our report on the first OHBS in 2007 included an estimate of over 1,800 attendees.

The OBCA says they hope to “Remake the show with an eye toward the future.”

For builders like Ahearne, Co-Motion, and others who still have strong businesses, the value of a gathering like this is still apparent. “It may not be the most glamorous or visible bike show in the country,” Ahearne said, “But I think it’s important to get these people together sometimes to remind us that we are, in fact, a small community. The nature of the business is isolation, and there’s a lot of struggle involved, and to put ourselves in front of the public and to talk with them, and to have some time to meet and hang out with other builders is important, validating, inspiring. And cool bikes are still cool to look at, even when everything else around us is changing.”

UPDATE, 8/7: The OBCA has announced a new event coming August 18th: A Framebuilder’s Goodbye to Velo Cult. There are 15 amazing builders already lined up!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Darn it all, We seem to be rapidly transitioning from a city of artisans, brewers and musicians riding fixies and vintage road bikes in to a burg of plastic people riding e-scooters, hybrid SUV’s and plastic bikes ( carbon). I am glad I was here for the good times.

CIRCA Cycles
Guest

My feelings echo a mix of what was said by Dwan and Joseph, but I think it would be constructive for the local builders to get together and do a post-mortem on some of our past experiences with the show and brainstorm how to be more successful next time.

I’d also love to hear suggestions and feedback from the local cycling community regarding what you’ve enjoyed about the show, what were some challenges, and how we could make it better / more fun for you in the future.

IanC
Guest
IanC

I truly appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication of the artisans. All the products are just to expensive… and they should be! I am a musician and feel like you should pay as much as you can for a good instrument – as long as you’re going to play it often. To continue this analogy, for the casual bike rider (hobby musician) maybe its discouraging to see the high price tags on custom made bikes.

Best of luck to all the builders. Much love!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>>> Newer members to the community don’t seem to want the old edgy Portland so much as a cleaner, more upscale living and shopping experience. <<<

Totally sad, totally true.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Bummer.

Totally hear the “Portland growing up” comments, but have to say not all that is necessarily negative. More of a priority shift in many cases. Like I went to the show years ago, when my 24 year old self thought owning a custom bike was the greatest aspiration known to man. Ten years later… Mortgage. Re-finishing that deck. And yeah, a hybrid freakin’ SUV.

Don’t get me wrong, I still ride (probably more than ever), and know a pretty bike when I see one, but it isn’t what I’m saving up for anymore.

Brian W.
Guest
Brian W.

I heard about this the other day and we bummed out, as I always love going to the show, but it seems to me that the number of small custom builders is dwindling. Even the list on the OBCA is pretty out of date. It seems like now should be a good time to be a frame builder (not that there is much money in it for the builders themselves), with the exposure that is possible on the internet and all the interest there is in the types of bikes that frame builders can build. Is this a Portland specific problem?

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

First we loose Velo Cult, then the Hand Made Bike Show, whats next? Disney Sponsors Pedalpalooza and mandates that all rides be themed on Disney Characters.

John Castle
Guest
John Castle

But buying a $1500-3000 steel frame is exactly what I would describe as an *upscale shopping experience*…

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I think people are tuned to the direction something is going more than the level it’s at. For example, when gasoline prices were going up rapidly from $2.50/gal to $3.50 per gallon, people rushed to find an alternative, drove less and/or chose to use their smaller vehicle as their primary. When gas prices were coming down from $4.25 to $3.50, the SUV’s and F-150’s came roaring back.

Same thing with the cycling community. Portland saw growth of commuter share surge from 3.5% in 2005 to 6% in 2008. That both created and demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm. Here it is a decade later and Portland’s cycling commute share is still right around 6%. Stagnation isn’t going to get people excited.

Maybe it’s time for those who love/build/love to build bicycles to move on down to Corvallis, which has seen dramatic growth in bike use over the past decade and now boasts just shy of 13% cycling modal share of commuters.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I have enjoyed attending this show since 2013….last year’s show was noticeably smaller in terms of vendors. The show seems like an indoor cooler/cold weather event justifying travel (in my case) and parking. My 2 cents

jon
Guest
jon

If only we could make Portland great again! Back in the good old days (late 80’searly 90’s for me) you could live almost for free in an old Victorian house in inner SE. Of course right after I moved here everything went bad – out of towners showed up with money and purchased homes, restaurants started opening, decaying empty commercial spaces were refurbished, everyone started riding custom steel bikes built in locally, bike paths were built, and a bunch of bike shops opened.

What has happened to my city? Bring back the boarded up shops, junky homes, the old Sellwood bridge with the 2 foot wide sidewalk, and steel bikes with Campy friction shifters!

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

I really think that last year’s location was a huge obstacle. That and the lack of family-friendly attractions are why we didn’t sign up to exhibit this year. Our market is absolutely hardcore bike geeks, but we saw that the show wasn’t appealing to a wider audience and we were missing a significant chunk of our market because they don’t want to go if there’s nothing for their families & friends. And we’re also aware that tomorrow’s hardcore geeks are today’s merely curious folks. We can’t maintain our little niche by only appealing to those who are already on board.

Early on the show had a more inclusive feel. Last year was continuation of the trend away from that. And riding all the way up to deep, deep St. Johns? It further alienated the non-hardcore yet still curious folks.

Absolutely there are larger demographic changes afoot, but look at the success of the Philly Bike show. They throw out a wide net and it pulls in a ton of people. A show with such a wide range of exhibitors brings in diversity and a ton of cross-pollination. That’s the key to the future.

Gus
Guest
Gus

“Deep deep St Johns “?
This is not the hipster paradise you’re looking for …

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Aloha (goodbye) and Mahalo for all those who invested so much into the OHBS in past years…I did not make it last year (injury). I enjoyed the energy and vitality of the early years.

Perhaps this change is also a reaction to the marketplace…ideas and features that once only could be found in 100% craft/ artisanal bicycles can be found in semi handmade bikes. Same as what happens every generation it seems…

You can also add Chris King’s Cielo departure to the growing list of challenges even affecting deeper pocketed businesses.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Just my own experience here: after years of purchasing custom steel bikes, I’ve started put that chunk of change towards ebikes instead.

Hope to someday purchase ebikes from local custom manufactures instead of having to rely on Trek or Stromer for my $8k purchase.

Any2wheels
Guest
Any2wheels

Handmade bike show was great as museum/showcase/party style event, but clearly not as a business-building event for the builders.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Plus–I’m always puzzled by this severe, disapproving eagle eye some have for the”rotting, mildew covered, asbetos ridden, crime filled rat trap” of Portland yore, when they (you) have such an apparently forgiving, weirdly benevolent eye toward the brand spankin’ new junky paths and needle-strewn parks, garbage everywhere–now + extra stench!,–the new smog and traffic… I won’t even get into the aesthetic travesty of Portland architecture of late, both residential and business, or the wrenching from-the-roots yank of displacement. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: true. But your eye is just a frickity freaky choosy freak!

Jim Calhoon
Guest
Jim Calhoon

Sorry to here this. I have enjoyed attending the shows when my work schedule kept me in town. Thanks to all those involved through the years. This will be missed by many of us just as we miss the Portland Bike Show. Another cycling event that just faded away.

Al
Guest
Al

I brought the kiddos out last year and they thought it was a cool venue but I had that “how long will this last like this?” feeling.

It’s too bad but the pint glass will remind me of what it was like for a while.

At least I got to the Vanilla build off this year.

Brent Shultz
Guest
Brent Shultz

I went last year, and agree that it was pretty dead. The location was weird, but that wasn’t the issue. The city has changed for sure. I remember back 8-9 years ago and all the bike tracks were full everywhere. You could go to a punk show on Alberta and there’d be bicycles everywhere locked to anything slightly immovable, or you could go to a house show and the yard would be packed with bikes. Now, crickets. You could go to most of these places now and see empty racks. Lots of creative types have moved on. New folks have the cash to waste on uber and the like. I don’t mean to slam anyone, but the feel is gone–it’s a sad thing, but it’s changed.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Bottom line: The high priced custom bike market is saturated. But, is the vintage mountain bike market about to take off? At least for the ones that haven’t been beat to hell?

Ernie A
Guest
Ernie A

The last couple of years, with the venue change but mainly with the date change from Fall to Summer, made this show too much bother for me to attend. I still don’t get why they moved this to Summer.

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

I’m part of the problem of new-people-who-move-to-Portland, but I miss the Portland I moved to 6 years ago also. The day I arrived in town, driving by the Belmont goats (OMG, goats, in an empty lot, smack in the middle of town, that people visited) and then being stopped by the train and having a sign for Moonstone pickles right next to me (they’re not in the Ford Building anymore). Now the “Goats Block” could be anywhere USA when you ride through there, there’s no reason to stop and something weird and quirky. I’m really glad there’s more housing for all the people close in where you don’t need to drive, but I also really, really miss the Belmont Goats.

ugh
Guest
ugh

Everyone complaining about Cali transplant interlopers understands that this site is run by one, right? Right?

Julie Hernandez
Guest
Julie Hernandez

I’m still interested!

ugh
Guest
ugh

^

@Carrie wow

ugh
Guest
ugh

Everyone complaining about Cali interlopers understands this site is owned and operated by one, right? Right?

ugh
Guest
ugh

Rohrshack!!

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

A friend forward me this email – appears that there will be one more hurrah for both OBCA and Velocult on August 18!!! I’m not on the OBCA email list so can’t verify details but if BP could look into it and spread the word, that would be great. I am assuming – again, not verified by me, that given the sponsorship of Hopworks, there just might be BEER.

[forwarded email starts]

A Framebuilder’s Goodbye to VeloCult
Free 2018 OBCA Framebuilder Showcase at VeloCult
1969 NE 42nd Ave, Portland OR
Saturday August 18th, 2018
Noon till 6pm

Please join the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association as we host the final event at VeloCult before they wind down. There will be fun examples of local, national and international bicycle frame builders displaying one of their finest machines. We plan a low key opportunity to meet and chat with builders, see examples of the craft of custom frame building showcasing a number of different styles. There will be builders showing traditional lugged steel construction techniques, fillet brazing and TIG welding, titanium welded construction and an aluminum builder to round out the current material offerings. Each builder is a master and would enjoy answering your questions about how they could craft your next dream bicycle. The current builder list includes:

Ketelaar Frame Works
ketelaarframeworks.com
Jeffrey Bock Custom Cycles
facebook.com/JeffreyBockCustomCycles
Strawberry Cyclesport
strawberrybicycle.com
Mahall Bikeworks
mahallbikeworks.com
Thursday Bicycles
thursdaybicycles.com
Ahearne Cycles
ahearnecycles.com
Igleheart Custom Frames and Forks
igleheartcustomframesandforks.com
Page Street Cycles
pagestreetcycles.com
Wolfhound Cycles
wolfhoundcycles.com
Ti Cycles
ticycles.com
REN Cycles
rencycles.com
Blaze Bicycles
blazebicycles.com
Circa Cycles
ridecirca.com
Breadwinner Cycles
breadwinnercycles.com
Simple Bicycle Company
simplebicycleco.com

Put this fun event on your calendar, come out and see what’s new, traditional and just plain well done in the frame construction world. We hope this will be a fitting send off for VeloCult as they focus on spreading their unique view on bicycle culture through their online endeavors. The OBCA is forever indebted to Sky and the VeloCult team for what they have brought to the Portland bicycle scene and the bicycle industry as a whole. VeloCult closing leaves a huge void in our community…you will be missed.
Thanks to our sponsors: Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, Point West Credit Union, Velo Cult, and Hopworks Urban Brewery.

Copyright © 2018 Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have attended the Handmade Bike and Beer Festival.

Our mailing address is:
Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association
1535 SW 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97201
Add us to your address book

[forwarded email ends]

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

A friend forwarded me this email – appears that there will be one more hurrah for both OBCA and Velocult on August 18!!! I’m not on the OBCA email list so can’t verify details but if BP could look into it and spread the word, that would be great. I am assuming – again, not verified by me, that given the sponsorship of Hopworks, there just might be BEER.

[forwarded email starts]

A Framebuilder’s Goodbye to VeloCult
Free 2018 OBCA Framebuilder Showcase at VeloCult
1969 NE 42nd Ave, Portland OR
Saturday August 18th, 2018
Noon till 6pm

Please join the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association as we host the final event at VeloCult before they wind down. There will be fun examples of local, national and international bicycle frame builders displaying one of their finest machines. We plan a low key opportunity to meet and chat with builders, see examples of the craft of custom frame building showcasing a number of different styles. There will be builders showing traditional lugged steel construction techniques, fillet brazing and TIG welding, titanium welded construction and an aluminum builder to round out the current material offerings. Each builder is a master and would enjoy answering your questions about how they could craft your next dream bicycle. The current builder list includes:

Ketelaar Frame Works
ketelaarframeworks.com
Jeffrey Bock Custom Cycles
facebook.com/JeffreyBockCustomCycles
Strawberry Cyclesport
strawberrybicycle.com
Mahall Bikeworks
mahallbikeworks.com
Thursday Bicycles
thursdaybicycles.com
Ahearne Cycles
ahearnecycles.com
Igleheart Custom Frames and Forks
igleheartcustomframesandforks.com
Page Street Cycles
pagestreetcycles.com
Wolfhound Cycles
wolfhoundcycles.com
Ti Cycles
ticycles.com
REN Cycles
rencycles.com
Blaze Bicycles
blazebicycles.com
Circa Cycles
ridecirca.com
Breadwinner Cycles
breadwinnercycles.com
Simple Bicycle Company
simplebicycleco.com

Put this fun event on your calendar, come out and see what’s new, traditional and just plain well done in the frame construction world. We hope this will be a fitting send off for VeloCult as they focus on spreading their unique view on bicycle culture through their online endeavors. The OBCA is forever indebted to Sky and the VeloCult team for what they have brought to the Portland bicycle scene and the bicycle industry as a whole. VeloCult closing leaves a huge void in our community…you will be missed.
Thanks to our sponsors: Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, Point West Credit Union, Velo Cult, and Hopworks Urban Brewery.

Copyright © 2018 Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have attended the Handmade Bike and Beer Festival.

Our mailing address is:
Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association
1535 SW 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97201
Add us to your address book

[forwarded email ends]

Dave Levy
Guest

I want to personally thank all the sponsors, frame builders, vendors and the public who have supported the Oregon Handbuilt Bicycles Show over the past decade. Choosing to cancel the OHBS was a hugely difficult decision to make and most unfortunate since we had Mitch Prior with MAP(CA), Pierre Chastain with Blaze Cycles(UT), Paul Ketelaar with Ketelaar Frameworks(Australia) and Jeffery Bock with Jeffrey Bock Custom Cycles(IA) already signed up to participate. The OBCA board agreed we needed to make the show ‘better’ than 2017 or it did not make sense to go forward. In the end, we felt we could not be proud of the event as it was coming together and thought it best cancel for 2018 with hope of keeping the event alive. We are reading the comment posted here, listening to our vendors and planning for the future.

Please come out and support VeloCult as they host the last event in their space, “A Framebuilder’s Goodbye to VeloCult!”on August 18, 2018 from noon till 6 PM. The OBCA has brought together 15 builders, each displaying one frame or bike, for a fitting celebration of bike culture and a final goodbye to well loved space that will be missed.

Hope to see many familiar faces.

Dave Levy OBCA

christopher san agustin
Guest

I’d urge the organizers to take a look at the SEE SEE Moto Show. It’s pretty incredible what they’ve been able to accomplish and it’s something that could be applied to the cycling scene.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

A friend forwarded me this email – appears that there will be one more hurrah for both OBCA and Velocult on August 18!!! I’m not on the OBCA email list so can’t verify details but if BP could look into it and spread the word, that would be great. I am assuming – again, not verified by me, that given the sponsorship of Hopworks, there just might be BEER.

[forwarded email starts]

A Framebuilder’s Goodbye to VeloCult
Free 2018 OBCA Framebuilder Showcase at VeloCult
1969 NE 42nd Ave, Portland OR
Saturday August 18th, 2018
Noon till 6pm

[Deleted long list of builders]

Put this fun event on your calendar, come out and see what’s new, traditional and just plain well done in the frame construction world. We hope this will be a fitting send off for VeloCult as they focus on spreading their unique view on bicycle culture through their online endeavors. The OBCA is forever indebted to Sky and the VeloCult team for what they have brought to the Portland bicycle scene and the bicycle industry as a whole. VeloCult closing leaves a huge void in our community…you will be missed.
Thanks to our sponsors: Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, Point West Credit Union, Velo Cult, and Hopworks Urban Brewery.

Copyright © 2018 Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have attended the Handmade Bike and Beer Festival.

Our mailing address is:
Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association
1535 SW 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97201
Add us to your address book

[forwarded email ends]

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Maybe Portland hasn’t changed, maybe it’s the material science. Argonaut is a good example. They first built with steel and now with carbon. I believe a lot of people love custom made steel bikes, but a consumer really only needs one, which should praxtically last a lifetime. And unless the builders are reaching out to new consumers, the local scene will inevitably plateau. Furthermore, it’s difficult to sale a product online when the consumer needs to be available in person for measurements.

And back to carbon. Several of my roadie (and MTB) friends who own and ride custom steel bikes have since switched to carbon. Now their steel bikes are like pieces of art, proudly hung from their garage wall next to the Eddy Merckx poster.

I have a custome steel bike that I love and will keep forever. I also want a carbon bike too…

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Seems like the obvious end result of making a limited demand consumer good that lasts forever. Most people have trouble justifying a single custom frame and aren’t going to buy a second; when I built up my touring bike I seriously considered one, but ended up opting for a nice steel Soma because otherwise I’d nearly double the total cost of the bike.

So it’s a little jarring to see people blaming this on the city changing around them and becoming more expensive, somehow. Does anybody really believe that a custom frame is anything other than a luxury purchase? Most framebuilders charge more than the average person would assume is reasonable to spend on a new *complete* bike, I guarantee you that the “gritty, edgy” Portland didn’t have more ability to buy what’s essentially a rolling status symbol.

I think it would be cool to own a frame from a local builder, certainly more interesting than the Surly LHTs and Disc Truckers that everybody seemed to be riding for a while, but buying a $1500 bike frame that’s tailored to your body for riding around town is pretty much the definition of upper middle class.

Carrie
Subscriber

Noisette
They are now the Lents goats. Come on out!Recommended 3

Ha! I actually don’t miss the goats themselves, but I miss that this was a city where goats lived in the middle of it because why not? And again, I’m glad that people who need housing are now living there, but I can be glad of that and still sad that the quirkiness is gone at the same time.

Dave
Guest

Bummer, I always enjoyed going to this show to marvel at the bikes and chat with the builders, even if everything was way out of my price range. (Kind of like going to a car show, I guess.) Hopefully, the OHBS actually makes a comeback and doesn’t completely disappear like the Pedal Nation PDX Bicycle Show that was canceled in 2014 and never returned.

Alain
Guest
Alain

Despite being the owner of a custom frame, I never attended the OHBS. The mix of vendors seemed to limit who would show up. While a general bike event is maybe not the best exposure for a custom builder, as others have noted, the mix of vendors and show events might need to be more creatively approached.

Local builders can and do influence the industry in positive ways. The lower cost production bikes by SOMA or Surly or All City find influence from custom builders. Perhaps OHBS could find industry partnerships to make this connection better recognized and supported?

On another note, I was pretty excited to learn of the new partnership between Jeff Lyon (resident of Grants Pass, and builder since the 1970s) and Norther Cycles. I do hope this goes well. I think what Lyon has done (which he can do partly by living in Grants Pass), as well as the work of Bantam and Breadwinner are interesting directions for Portland and Oregon custom building.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

On the other end of the price scale, Velocult is liquidating the bikes on its floor and in its basement this weekend, as well as parts, Aug 11-12, noon-6 pm. There are dozens and dozens of used bikes there, some fully rehabbed but many more project bikes.

Mr T
Guest
Mr T

I still wonder about why there is nothing at the Oregon State Fair about the bicycle industry. The state fair is supposed to be about all aspects of our state community and economy – and it sure seems like it would be a Very Good Thing to expose 300,000 people to the bicycle culture.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

This event never felt very inclusive. You were either part of that hardcore frame building clique or you weren’t.

The Belmont Goats
Guest

Noisette
They are now the Lents goats. Come on out!

Nope, still The Belmont Goats. Just in Lents now, until the end of October.

Beth H
Guest
Beth H

Portland has grown up. We don’t always like the way our kids turn out but now that they have to pay their own rent we don’t really have any say. (And don’t EVEN think you can move back home, because I’ve gone and turned your bedroom into my bike workspace.)

Seriously.

I worked in the bike industry full-time for almost two decades. During that time, I watched a number of trends come and go. Not ONE of those trends catered to lower-income transportational riders who worked on their own bikes because that’s what their budget allowed. Nearly all of the trends can draw a line of DNA back to racing (including mega-distance randonneuring and high-performance, credit-card touring).
Trickle-down from racing — and its accompanying design, production and marketing — is what has provided a great deal of the financial wherewithal to help grow bicycle innovation. Does it go in a direction I personally like? Not usually. But that trickle-down has long determined what our next bicycles will look and perform like.

Custom bike are just that: CUSTOM, meant for a specific rider, a one-off. Framebuilders take time to learn their craft and longer still to build up a following. But even with carbon, how much of a following can sustain any framebuilder’s operations? (More baldly put: How many bikes does a person want, need or have the capacity to store?)

Past a certain point, growth becomes dangerously connected to excess and excess unchecked can lead to over-consumption.

One of the reasons I’m relieved to have left the new bike industry is that I’ve always been aware of this relationship and I have had an ambivalent, even difficult time reconciling my sense of ethics with that reality.

I greatly appreciate the devotion to craft expressed by our local framebuilders. And I understand the market forces driving the changes that have led to the cancellation of this year’s show. I wish all of them more success and fulfillment in their chosen line of work. I also hope they have other skillsets in case times get really lean.