A Note From the Show President
With the eighth running of NAHBS, when I look back on the past decade I can only say I am proud to be part of this great event.
It is no secret that the handmade bicycle industry was in trouble around the turn of the century. Established bicycle building workshops in the USA, UK, Italy, France and other nations were disappearing under the tide of cheap carbon fiber frames flooding in from the far east. The profit margins on these frames were substantial, affording mass producers hefty advertising and marketing budgets. How could we little guys get the public’s attention?
Nine years ago a group of frame builders got together and created NAHBS, a convention for the handmade bicycle industry. It would be a celebration of cycling’s cottage businesses. Working together, we believed we could remind cyclists of what they were missing. And guess what? It worked!
Another purpose of NAHBS was the exchange of information between builders and the passing-on of arcane know-how from the masters to the rookies. This tradition continues every year in our seminar series.
And of course the show has always bee a place for us builders to renew old acquaintances and get together as one giant family. I wouldn’t miss our social gatherings for the world!
Speaking of the world, handmade frame builders do not exist in a vacuum. Many purchase parts from the same companies that supply the largest bicycle manufacturers, and of course we welcome these companies too as a means of helping potential consumers decide which parts to include on their dream bicycles, as well as what to wear and how to carry things.
Yet I never imagined the effect of NAHBS would be so far-reaching. And here I take no personal credit. The enthusiasm, and passion, and determination of frame builders around the world shines like a pure, beautiful light.
In the early days of NAHBS there was a wide range of quality in the show hall. Nowadays you see outstanding examples of the craft everywhere you look. Frame builders have learned from one another. They have raised their game, and the bar is still rising.
One foreign journalist commented that many of the finest frames in the world are now made in the USA. Speaking as a frame builder myself, I see some of the finest examples coming from other nations too, but what I can feel here in the USA is the energy of many small businesses that are growing and thriving and competing to be the best, and I have to say this is one heck of an exciting wave to be riding right now.
Please indulge my patriotic spirit here, but it just feels great to be part of a home-grown manufacturing movement that is rapidly expanding, not shrinking, and with rising urban congestion and oil prices the future looks bright for the bicycle. Who wouldn’t want that for their country, or their state, or their city? So when you return home, be sure to give your local frame builder mad props!
Sacramento is my hometown, and since setting off on my travels many years ago I now notice how much the city has grown as an active and siginficant cycling venue. I have always loved pedaling along the leafy green streets and alongside the calm of the American River. It feels so good to be coming back and bringing something with me that people of all walks of life can enjoy.
The maxim of NAHBS is Quality, Inspiration and Craftsmanship. All three are in abundance at NAHBS, and it is my sincere hope that you are inspired and delighted by what you will see. I believe I speak on behalf of all exhibitors in saying it is our humble pleasure and privilege to present to you our finest work.