The Shimano North American Handmade Bicycle Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center kicked off this morning and runs through Sunday. With pre-show demand for tickets up over 100% from last year’s event in Indianapolis, the show’s promoters issued notice yesterday that “show-goers are advised to consider attending on Friday and Sunday, rather than Saturday which is expected to fill the show hall to capacity.” It really is that awesome, folks.
As we’ve said before, Richmond is a great bicycling city. We have great shops, great trails, a thriving cycling culture, and it is but a short hop from the center of downtown to the (for now) rural roads of Varina. Add to all of that, for the weekend anyway, the Shimano North American Handmade Bicycle Show and now we’ve got some of the most beautiful bicycles in the world right here at home.
The North American Handmade Bicycle Show highlights frame builders, though the show includes displays by bicycle painters, component makers, and other craftsman among the 130 exhibitors. The companies on display are from across the country and around the world; I spoke to folks from California, Colorado, Massachussets, Denmark, and heard more languages being spoken on the display floor than anywhere else in my years in Richmond.
Two of the more distinct bicycles on display use bamboo in the frame. Bamboosero frames are constructed by a group of independent bamboo frame builders from Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, the Philippines, and other developing countries. Each builder works with their own local bamboo and local fiber, and offer their frames for sale to the local market or through Bamboosero.com. The more polished Boo Bikes, started as a class project for a mechanical engineering student at Princeton University, offer up stunning hybrid bamboo-carbon bikes.
One booth that stays surrounded by gawkers is Shin-Ichi Konno’s virtually unphotographable bikes from Cherubim. The high gloss and mirror chrome somehow simultaneously reflect and absorb all of the surrounding light. These jewels of bicycles have to be seen in person.
Coming upon it after the winter that we’ve had, I was particularly smitten by an Independent Fabrication bike with snow tires. I’ve also begun to scheme on how to get my hands on this bicycle by Massachusetts’s Alternative Needs Transportation (ANT).
More coverage of the show is all over the internet. Cyclelicious is doing a running commentary and has been good about linking folks to Richmond sources, giving props to both the Carytown Bicycle Company and the pulled pork and mac & cheese from Comfort. There’s also a NAHBS 2010 flickr group.
You can see more photos of the show over on John’s flickr.