With only ten booth spaces left, the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) is looking set to be the biggest yet by a big margin.
The show, in Portland Oregon, February 8-10, has already signed up 134 exhibitors, up from 103 in 2007, and organiser Don Walker is confident of filling the remaining ten booths.
“Heading into our fourth [year] we are growing beyond my expectations,” said Walker. “I am very confident we will sell all our booth spaces. With seven weeks until the show, we only have ten spaces left, and I am talking with companies that wish to fill those spaces.”
A craftsman-orientated alternative to the major trade shows, NAHBS showcases the work of the small framebuilders and component makers who have undergone something of a renaissance in the last few years. Exhibitors signed up for 2008 include longstanding flag-wavers of the ‘make your own stuff’ movement, such as Bruce Gordon Cycles, Richard Sachs and Chris King components, plus show newcomers like Portland locals Hufnagel Cycles and the first Australian exhibitor Llewellyn Custom Bicycles.
Llewellyn’s Darrell McCulloch says that going to NAHBS isn’t just a business decision. Llewellyn is looking forward to “sharing the love and hanging out with other builders.”
For McCulloch, “what we do is less of a business and more a lifestyle and way of expressing ourselves. In Australia our building scene barely exists,” so exhibiting at NAHBS is a chance to talk shop with other craftsmen builders and enthusiasts from round the world.
McCulloch will also be exhibiting his own frame and stem lugs and despite the distance between his base in Queensland and Oregon, he expects to take some frame orders too. “I do sell some frames in the USA – it’s good to take some dollars off the Americans,” he says with a laugh.
He believes that the Australian framebuilding scene can only grow, as it has in the US in recent years. "The bigger the mainstream gets, the stronger it makes our end," he says.