We should have known from the beginning when the small things started to compound that we were in for the ride of our life, literally. Maurice’s “fix” of bending the wiper arm for the 50th time, so that there would actually be contact with the blade against the windshield wasn’t a fix at all, and picking Frank up at a turnpike gas station with his window stuck down and snow on the way was another clue, but we ignored the signs, covered the void with a garbage bag, and motored on with a trailer in tow.
Accommodating ourselves in a cheap hotel in the boondocks offering an inedible continental breakfast wasn’t the smartest move, but we managed and persevered, even through the bad ketchup. I guess Heinz doesn’t have distribution south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Some new photo equipment purchased in haste, check for blown fuses next time, and a disabled trailer (don’t let Evan drive again) resulted in un-needed expenditure and many palm slaps to the forehead. But each of the three days we made it back to the show, we were rewarded with aisles of beautifully customized bicycles, cool people all sharing the same passion, and many laughs reminiscing the night before made it worth the lack of sleep. And who can argue with that outcome.
Nearly 6800 people attended the show over its three-day span and I doubt if anyone left with a frown on their face. A free-beer Blue Moon happy hour closed the show each day, while swag soared through the air into smiling outstretched hands. After parties featuring gold sprints and prizes, raffles benefiting the local trails, a bluegrass band, short films and good food kept us all out late having fun and meeting new people. Some kind folks were even nice enough to tag our van multiple times by writing in the thick road salt covering the paint.
Engin Cycles won the Best Off-Road bicycle award with their stainless steel beauty and Kent Eriksen Cycles won Best Titanium with his super-sleek mountain bike. Bilenky Cycle Works won Best Road Frame with a French style tandem.
Other category winners are:
YiPsan Bicycles – Best City Bike
Richard Sachs – Best Track Frame
Crumpton Cycles – Best Carbon Fiber
Kirk Frameworks – Best Fillet Brazing
Calfee Design – Best Tandem
Spectrum Tandem – Best Steel Frame
Dinucci Cycles – Best Lugged Frame
DeSalvo Cycles – Best TIG welded Frame
Six-Eleven Bicycle Co. – Rookie of the Year
Llewellyn Custom Bicycles – Best Paint
Ellis Cycles – Best of Show
Cherubim by Konno – President’s Choice
YiPsan Bicycles – Peoples Choice
Check out more of Justin’s awesome photos from each day.
And with the van packed we headed back toward the Burgh, discussed the formation of the universe to take our minds off the heavy traffic and enjoyed the ride, well until Frank got behind the wheel which had us all white knuckled and questioning the existence of a higher power. NAHBS 2011 in Austin, Texas! Who’s going? I’d do it again, but smarter this time.