La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

San Diego trip part 1 – Custom Bicycle Show

Jos and I made the trip down to San Diego on Friday night. Saturday I took off for a few solo hours to explore the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show. What a blast!

There was a huge variety of bikes there, utilitarian touring and townie machines, road, TT, tandems, MTBS, track bikes, cyclocross and blinged out low-riders. It was really more like an art show – every artist/framebuilder had a unique take on what a beautiful bike meant to them. Each bike blended practical and aesthetic qualities to produce some of the coolest bikes I’ve ever seen. I wanted to take each one out for a spin.

It’s impossible to recount them all but here are some of the ones I found myself drawn to:

RRVelo/ Fred Markham’s carbon bikes with “lugs” – actually just sculpted carbon to reinforce the joints. These guys are the self proclaimed carbon masters.
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Winter Bicycles – just liked the vibe of this one .. if I could only have one bike, a do-it-all road/touring/commuting/utilitarian bike like this would probably be it.
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Kish made some beautiful Ti frames. The welds were just gorgeous. Normally I like the clean look of raw Ti but the half-painted look is kinda neat. This singlespeed cross bike caught my eye more than once.
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Vintage lugged steel frames were everywhere.
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Argonaut made arguably the sexiest bike at the entire show … this filet brazed frame was smooth and the blue Dura Ace cranks caught many eyes.
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One day Jos and I will sell our cars to get one of these tandems from Calfee.
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Calfee’s bamboo bikes were very cool as well…
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Ahrens bikes had a great vibe to them. One of the only Aluminum frames at the show, this one used easton tubing with a carbon seatstay.
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And last, but certainly not least, my favorite technical design and favorite paint job all in one sweet ass bike. Holland makes a hybrid Ti/Carbon frame that I shouldn’t even attempt to explain – but Bill Holland doesn’t seem to have a google-able website (email him at bike2@cox.net). Basically you laser cut a ti tube in diamond patterns then line the interior of the tube with carbon. Theoretically the blend gives you the best compromise between torsional stifness, vertical compliance, durability and weight that you will ever find. Add in a custom Grateful Dead paint job and you have me sold.. if I had $5000 to spend on a road frame!
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So many more great bikes and great people to mention. Too little time.

I will say that I attended Brian Baylis’ seminar on beginning frame building. This was a non-technical talk aimed at giving newbies an idea of how to approach you first build. The basic idea was that practice makes perfect so start small and just build simple frames until you get that down to a science. Then start experimenting and going where you imagination takes you. Very helpful in case I ever find the time to fulfill my dream of designing and building my own bike.

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April 7, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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