It was a blustery Thursday afternoon that we crammed into a VW golf and rolled out of Ottawa en-route to Richmond Virginia for a extended weekend of super bike geekery.
Although quite a few of our friends had big plans to attend the show the final posse was made up of Thom, Kent (from Phat Moose Cycles), and myself. This worked out since whoever got the back seat got to nap. However the two up-front got a bit more than they bargained for, at least on the drive down.
As a Ottawa resident and after having lived in the Eastern Townships for a number of years, you would expect to be accustomed to driving in rather foul winter weather….well we were in for a bit more than we bargained for. The weather was atrocious, snow, high winds, downed trees, crashed cars and big rigs, and trees down willy nilly all over the road. It was so bad that the interstate was closed to transport trucks, and RV’s because they were at risk of blowing over. Thirty inches fell in some areas and for some reason they don’t seem to plow interstates.
As you may have gathered we did arrive at the show, Friday morning at 4am, alive but a bit tired. We managed about 4hrs of sleep at the hotel then were up. We grabbed a Starbucks, conveniently located in our hotel lobby, and were off to find the convention centre.
My first impression of the show was that it looked a bit smaller than the year before, but after a zip about I realised that it was in was in fact bigger and busier than the Indy show.
Last year we were so excited when we got to the show that we kind of ran willy nilly all over the place. This year we had a more systematic plan of attack. Down one side of a row then back up the other side of the same row until we saw everything.
Where to start, there was so much to see, I was really interested in the small details, seat-stay caps, dropout attachments, lug shaping etc. My pictures will likely reflect this as well. The first row had some pretty cool stuff, I love the curved tubes and drop-outs from Geekhouse bikes. Next to them was Tony Maietta who has a shop next to Hot Tubes in MA, he had fixie with a pretty cool paint job done by a Tattoo artist.
There was lots more walking and talking and I won’t get into all of that, but one other booth I was pretty excited about that day was the Rapha booth, and they were selling lots of goodies. I couldn’t resist purchasing the new Belgium country jersey I had been eyeing online for a couple of weeks.
Before we headed out for the day we went over to the Richard Sachs booth to pick up the box of lugs and fork crowns we had pre-purchased.
Friday night was a tame one, we had some great pulled pork sliders and called it an early night, needed to catch up on Z’s before another big day of isle walking.
We started Saturday morning off right with a big breakfeast at Perly’s restaurant. I think half the convention was there as well, the staff were pretty much run off their feet. Pretty cool to be in a restaurant when a few tables down is frame building legend Sacha White (Vanilla Bicycles).
Ok, it would be delinquent of me not to mention the amount of beards and moustaches at the show. I think it might becoming a requirement for all frame-builders and geeky bike aficionados masquerading as hipsters to grow some sort of facial hair. Even the paintings at the restaurants had them. What do you think Angela, should I grow a mustache?....
I won’t go into detail about all the bike companies, but some things standout.
The Vanilla paint jobs and custom drawn tubing, Dario Pegoretti’s bikes and paint,
Dave Kirks lugwork and new logos, Ellis’ lugged frames, Black sheeps Ti dually 29er, and the Dean Dirt drop Ti bike mmmmm.
Saturday night was a bit more eventful. It started off with us picking up a seat-stay mitering jig from Mike Zanconoto, then heaving it around the Marriot's lobby bar.
Had a few drinks with Paul, yes THE Paul of Paul’s components fame, and the women from Momentum Magazine. This was cool since we thought Momentum wasn’t too fond of us, turns out we were wrong. Then had a few more drinks with Tony Maietta and Brian from HPV Ottawa who had arrived via train.
Next we were off to find the COG magazine party which ended up being a bit longer walk than Kent had estimated. Once we got there we squeezed our way in through a hoard of super hipsters towards the free drink table, of course the Keg’s were dry…however it wasn’t long before Kent managed to befriend someone who had access to a secret supply of PBR. Why is PBR so popular? It’s pretty much water.
Before long we had enough of being sardined in with the hipsters so we headed back outside. We were just about to take off when Paul and the women from Momentum showed up, they told us to wait around for them. So we waited while they checked out hip-fest, then we all headed down to a local dive bar the Imperial.
A night of debauchery ensued in which we convinced Paul and Tammy (who works at Paul) that it would be cool to get a bunch of parts anodized green for the team…so cool. We also ended up have to sneak Suzanne from Poka bicycle accessories in the back door after she forgot her ID. All in all it was a pretty Canadian night with the women from Momentum, ourselves, Suzanne and Noah from Velo Colour. Paul and Tammy were surrounded.
Well that’s all, the drive back was uneventful and at least 4hrs shorter.
For all my pictures from the show check out the Tall Tree Flickr.