Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Force Field of Fun

     Hand made bike shows are a new and somewhat odd phenomenon.  Created to spread the word about the niche industry that is hand made bicycles, they often end up being more art show than "trade" show; more ogling than selling going on.  They're like drunk headstands; they seem like a good idea until you're about half way through which is about the time you realize what you kind of suspected all along; that maybe you shouldn't have tried this but your only hope now is to try to make the crash landing as painless as possible.  To insulate myself from the negative aspects of this trend (wasting time and money), I have taken to only attending shows within a day's drive and stopping along the way to ride.  As we did last year on the way to the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show, Mo Rebolledo, Stevil, and myself made a vacation out of it.
     First stop was San Luis Obispo.  It's far enough south to get into more rocky and barren type of riding than we have up here.  Long climbs, lots of singletrack, and no one around.  Tim played host again and has the cleanest house I've ever seen a 43yr old single man have.  At least when we got there....

On the way south we had decided to pass up killer riding just to say we rode in L.A.  But then Jeff from L.A. said we were being stupid and recommended turning left wherever we happened to be at that point.  We did, and ran smack into a little bike shop called Rincon Cycles in Carpenteria.

Dennis and Paul were kind enough to point us to a trail in Ojai.  Thanks guys.  Always cool to make connections like that and get some local knowledge.

Killer out and back 14 miles.  Busy singletrack with a lot of rocks.  For not knowing where the hell we were, we lucked out.  Spent the night in Hollywood at my cousin Kathleen's place.  She made the mistake of telling us her company pays for it.

Before the show started on Friday we made a pilgrimage to the U.S. Olympic training center for some early morning squats and pole vaulting.  Actually it was to see the B.M.X. museum.  A little old lady named Dorris let us in.  When she opened the door it was like seeing the Lost Ark.  Holy Sweet Jesus it was hard to take it all in.  Even though it was a pretty small place, they packed in quite a collection of bikes, old gear, and photos.

That sticker there is from the race where I got my C.W. "Pistol Pete" bike stolen.  I got a mountain bike with the insurance money and away I went.  If you own a Soulcraft, you have bike thieves in Stockton to thank.

The best thing about these shows is meeting customers.  Not potential customers, but people who already own a Soulcraft.  That's Gretchen from Pacific Coast Cycles where Spencer (left) and Robert purchased their bikes.  That's actually Robert's bike in the pic.  Not to sound too self important, but I know they really appreciated meeting me and I  have the same sentiment towards them.  There's nothing like being thanked personally for your hard work and hearing about the experiences they've had on a bike you built.  These guys ride.  A lot.  That's who I want to build bikes for.  But bike shows are not all about touchy feely encounters with customers.  Sometimes it's about babysitting, Wizard Staffs, and shoes that look like feet.  After taking a courtesy look around our booth, some guy left his kid behind while he walked around the show for about an hour (that's about 4 rungs worth on the Wizard Staff).  In the mean time Stevil took the opportunity to impart his 40 years worth of wisdom to the approximately 8 year old Nick.  If you're Nick's dad and you're reading this, two things.  First, you're welcome, and second, that Black Widow Nick claims is living under his bed isn't really there.  That's just to keep you from looking under there.

All though it would appear that Stevil has reaped what he hath sown via his own Wizard Staff, I believe it was the hour of child care that did him in.  Not even the little bottle of 5 hr. energy could save him, nor jog his memory of the walk back from the show to the hotel.  Oh, and here are those shoes I mentioned....

Like I said, by adding a sufficient amount of peripheral tomfoolery and riding, the effects of attending a hand made bicycle show can be mitigated.

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