2011 San Diego Custom Bicycle Show

This is the second year I volunteered for the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show. For me it had a much different feel than last year. In part it was the change of venue. The show moved from the Town & Country Resort and Conference Center to Golden Hall at the San Diego Community Concourse. I think the show may have been bigger this year, but, because the space is so much larger it didn’t feel bigger.

SDCBS T-shirt

SDCBS T-shirt

This is the first year for the Bike Fashion Showcase. I was surprised and pleased that it was being staged by someone I had recently done business with, B Spoke Tailor. And I was also flattered and pleased to be asked to participate as a model.

As always there were many excellent builders in attendance. Some, like Bruce Gordon, have been here before. Some new builders also pariticipated.

Bruce Gordon Titanium / Carbon Fiber

Bruce Gordon Titanium / Carbon Fiber

Bruce Gordon Carbon / Titanium

Bruce Gordon Carbon / Titanium

I really enjoy looking at the new and innovative ideas some of the builders come up with. But, I’m still most impressed by old-fashioned, hand crafted and carved lugs. Here are a few I really enjoyed looking at.

Custom Fork in the raw

Custom Fork in the raw

Seat Tube in the raw

Seat Tube in the raw

Brian Bayliss’ work has always impressed me. This bike was a part of the Fashion Showcase. It’s not new, but the work is still quite stunning.

Brian Bayliss head tube

Brian Bayliss head tube

I don’t remember who’s bike frame this was. Some day I’ll learn to make useful notes. All I can think of is the number of hours the builder spent carving out these parts to customize them and then braze or silver solder them into place. Then after the frame was finished and painted, someone painstakingly pinstriped around the lug work to show it off. There has to be at least a day, maybe two’s worth of work customizing and attaching these brake studs.

rear brake mount

rear brake mount

Just when you think that the builders can’t get any more over the top, and then you see something like this. I can’t say why but, this bottom bracket kind of reminds me of something you would see on a James Bond bicycle.

bottom bracket

bottom bracket

All the lug work on this bike was quite elaborate and really shows the frame builders art.

head tube

head tube

For comparison the Bamboo bikes are all about organic materials. They remind me of Flinstone machines.  I hear they’re really light and fun to ride.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try one.

bamboo head tube

bottom bracket

At each show I have my favorites. Sometimes it’s some lug work, but this year, the wooden bicycles were the most surprising and amazing machines. Renovo Hardwood Bicycles are more like works of art than bicycles. Check out their site for some nice galleries of bikes they’ve built. These are amazing bicycles. I was surprised to learn how really high tech these frames are. They are made in halves and glued together. The inside is hollowed out by a special CNC machine before the sides are mated. The woods are carefully chosen for their strength and other characteristics, just as you would choose metal tubing to build a conventional frame.

head tube of Renovo Hardwood Bicycle

head tube of Renovo Hardwood Bicycle

I only wish some of the other pictures I took had some out better. But you get a taste

bottom bracket of Renovo Hardwood Bicycle

bottom bracket of Renovo Hardwood Bicycle

Even the head badges are interesting and intricate. This show reminds me of going to a art gallery.  This head badge for Winter Bicycles caught my eye.

Winter Cycles Head Badge

Winter Cycles Head Badge

These bikes by Boxkars were unusual for this kind of show. These are not your typical custom racing frames. According to the web site, these bikes have a 63″ wheelbase, long and low. Not lightweight though, at 60-65 pounds. Personally, I’m happy to see all kinds of bikes at the show.

Low riders

Low riders

Even some less conventional bicycles were on display. I didn’t move one, but I overheard someone saying they are quite light weight. I wonder how much of a market there is for these.

Mark Dinucci of Dinnuci Cycles won  best of show at the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show with this stunningly executed bicycle. Mark has some detailed pictures and descriptions on his web site.

Best of show NAHBS

Best of show NAHBS

Bike & Fashion Showcase

This is the poster for the Bike & Fashion Showcase, I and other volunteers participated in. It was a lot of fun and make the show something to remember, for myself and others.

B. Spoke Tailor model

B. Spoke Tailor model

Here’s another case where I should have taken notes. I spent parts of two days with these people, and I’m not able to remember a single name. My apologies to the models, for forgetting your names. If you recognize yourself or someone else, and care to email me, I can be reached by velorambler at gmail dot com.

B. Spoke Tailor had models coming through all day for dressing and fitting, in preparation for the show Saturday night. In addition, Nan was clearing out some of her stock, so people were trying things on. It kept the area busy all the time.  Both men and women were modeling from B Spoke Tailer

B. Spoke Tailor model

B. Spoke Tailor model

These two came by with their high wheelers and immediately wanted to try on some of the clothes and have their pictures taken. The jacket he has on is made with special material that has in iridescent thread woven in. When light hits it, the thread shines back. The flash from my camera gave them nice red eyes and showed of the iridescence of the jacket.

Dressed for riding

Dressed for riding

For many of the  participants the Fashion Showcase was the ultimate event. I don’t know how the audience perceived it, but most of the models had a blast. It made the entire show a memory that many of us will cherish for a long time.

Fashion Show begins

Fashion Show begins

And here’s an obligatory photo of me, in my custom made B Spoke Tailor bicyle outfit. The knickers and vest were custom tailored for me, to my specifications.

Velo Rambler

Velo Rambler

It was a great show, and I hope it continues. Each year it gets a little more diverse and a little more interesting for the general public. Maybe someday it will be big enough to be held at the Convention Center by the bay. For now, I’ll be happy if it continues for another year.

Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.

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