The Man Behind NAHBS
Don Walker began building bicycle frames at the age of 25 in 1991. His first mentor was Al Wanta. Walker comes from a background in track racing, but his build portfolio quickly diversified. He now builds road, track, tandem, and mountain bike frames.
At the turn of the 21st century, the handmade bicycle industry was in danger of becoming obsolete under the assault of mass-produced bicycles from Asia. Walker saw a need for an exchange of ideas, best practices and a strategy to keep the handmade niche from vanishing.
The North American Handmade Bicycle Show had its genesis from an online forum of interested people in 2002. This forum for frame builders, called Phred, spawned a first attempt at a show in January,2005 in Houston, Texas. The first show had a shaky start with only 23 exhibitors, but since then NAHBS has grown exponentially and has become relevant to the entire bicycle industry as a whole.
NAHBS, unlike many trade shows, changes its location every year. This way, it stays less like a medieval guild, and becomes more like an open forum that attracts the best and most innovative builders from all over North America.
NAHBS’ mission is Don Walker’s mission: to educate the new generation of cycling enthusiasts to build handmade bicycles that are pragmatic in design and made in an economically viable manner, but with enduring quality.