Friday, February 15, 2008

Two Wheeled Art

We did go to the NAHBS, gee, was that a week ago already? It was fun, as I expected sort of a flight of fancy, ... for me at least. Mrs C lasted a couple hours and then begged off for he own idea of fun. She felt a little sheepish about leaving, I told her how impressed I was that she lasted as long as she did.

The place was set up pretty well, and though it was a big, modern exhibition hall, it would have been better in a place with about half again as much room. This thing has grown exponentially in four years and by the time it got to this venue it had outgrown the space. There was quite a turnout and then too this is not just a guy stranding next to a bike, these guys bring a number of complete bikes, and frames and trick components, aso they need room to spread the goodies out and we need room to get up close and oggle. Plus, given the nature of this business and the crowd it attracts, I don't think the fancy modern digs are very important to the success of the event. This thing could probably have been equally successful in the 747 construction hangar up at Boeing field in Everett.

I heard a lot of carping after about how extravagant and impractical and EXPENSIVE many of these bikes were. It's true, if you are thinking in terms of a bike, that you are going to ride, out in the rain, and lock up to a light post or lean up against the gritty wall of a convenience store gas station, then this might all have seemed silly or surreal or 'impractical'. But a person is better off checking that mind set at the door. Don't think of this as a bike show, or a bike shop, think more of this as an art exhibit. Many of these bikes truly were works of art. Like going to the Detroit auto show and dissing the concept cars because thers isn't room for a car seat.

And the poor myopic Portlanders, many (well some I heard from anyway) seemed distressed that the next iteration will be held in Indianapolis. It's easy to assume that all things bicycle are West Coast centric, but the fact is Portland, or Seattle or Sacramento are a loooong way from most of the rest of North America. If a guy wants to come to the show, and bring a half dozen of his frames and bikes for three or more days, then getting all the way across the country (not half way across) becomes a dauting task. And what is 'close' to Seattle or Portland? how far to the next significant population center? In Indianapolis there is Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, and then that large selection of Portland sized cities, Cleveland, Cincinatti, Louisville, and lots of other places not really too far off. It will be good for cycling though from a strictly selfish point of view, I'd love it if they had it closer again. As it happens,I have a brother who lives just outside of Indianapolis, perhaps I will need to visit his relatively new house ... sometime next winter!

It struck me funny that we had to drive to Portland and mill around in a crowded windowless convention center exhibition hall to get a bright sunny day. On the drive down we were squinting and on the verge of head aches, "What is that bright glowing orb in the sky?" After I was all filled up with bicycle images (and my camera battery was dead) we went out to lunch with our landlord Dennie. Nice to see him. We bought him a meal, a very small down payment on a very large debt. I was not up to driving home, actually I wasn't much 'up' for going, but I was determined so I just took alot of drugs and got through it. It took a lot more out of me than I expected. Nice to have a lovely chaffeur-ette to drive me home and tuck me in.

Like every one else I was employing my 'amatuer photograhy skills'. Looking at the results I guess we can emphasize the 'amatuer ' part. Here are a few things that caught my eye: (by the way, I belierve these photos enlarge if you click on them so if you are at all interested in seeing detailed workmanship then by all means, have a closer look.

Enlarge this pic and look closely at the chain.

Here is a verticle grain, finger jointed Doug fir seat cluster

And here's the bike.

Here's another, some exotic wood

I thought this was pretty.

The Steve Rex bikes were beautiful. This red Llewellyn was fantastic

This JP Weigle was the perfect marriage of art and function.

This Birdy folder was amazing, the guy folded it up in less than 10 seconds, and he wasn't hurrying. Realize that, folded it is about knee high.

I've got a lot more pics, I will try to get time to upload them to flickr so those who are interested can see them there. It was a great escape.

There's lots to tell about the house, but that'll just have to wait for another day.

1 comment:

  1. The wife and I went on Saturday. I was going to keep an eye out for you but I was looking down the whole time. fun fun