Builders boost business at NAHBS

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Metrofiets at NAHBS

The Metrofiets booth buzzed all weekend
(and was popular with bike shop owners).

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento delivered record attendance (8,100 people), and it turns out many of them came to do more than dream about a new bike. Some of them came to buy.

The blur of a big bike show like NAHBS is often remembered only in vignettes — short chats and interactions you see that help define the otherwise chaotic event. This was my fourth time attending the show (I was at San Jose in 2007, Portland in 2008, and Austin in 2011), and unlike those past years, I got the feeling that builders were doing far more than just talking with fans and showing off their bikes. It seemed like they were actually making sales.

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From the aisles of NAHBS: A hub that inflates your tire

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The Pump-Hub by Kevin Manning.

The bike industry is full of people with big passions and big ideas. Often at industry shows like NAHBS, these garage innovators don’t have the money to buy official exhibit space. Instead, they’ll tuck their new product into a backpack and carry it through the aisles, eager to show it to anyone who takes the time to stop and listen.

On Friday, a friend tracked me down and introduced me to Kevin Manning, inventor of the Pump-Hub. I stopped and listened and here’s what I found out…

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Headed to Sacramento for North American Handmade Bicycle Show

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Vanilla's kids bike-12

A scene from NAHBS in
Austin last year.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tomorrow morning I’ll hop in a car with a friend and drive 600 or so miles to Sacramento for the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. NAHBS is the annual showcase of America’s budding handmade bike industry. I’m going down to document and support the 18 or so Oregon companies that will exhibit and to get a sense of where handmade bike making is headed.

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