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Thread: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

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    Default No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    This is sad, but not completely surprising. I'm trying to remember which builders have come and gone?

    "Low levels of interest" leads to cancellation of Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show - BikePortland.org
     

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    I was there for two years. As a non-Oregon builder (there were a couple others as well), it was frustrating. Usually the first question out of the mouths of passersby was "are you local?" When I said "I'm near Tacoma, WA," that was oftentimes the end of any discussion. I think there were a couple things that happened along the way that have hurt the show:

    * Hopworks was one of the major supporters of this event, and the first year I went, the show was held at their outdoor warehouse. It was the Oregon Handmade Bike and Beer Festival, and it seemed that there were plenty of people there for the beer, with bikes as the side show. Once Hopworks pulled out, and the show was moved (to a place with worse access and parking), it really hurt attendance.
    * I tried to get a builder's ride going (okay, more like I inquired and pushed it a bit), and Strawberry hosted it the first year I went. The next year it was pulled in the last week due to... I don't even remember why, something about logistics of the morning. Just seemed less camaraderie between the builders.

    Just my thoughts. Yes, sad to see it go, though they are characterizing it as a year off, not the end forever. However the Seattle Pedaler's Fair was cancelled in 2017, with the thoughts that they were going to make it even better in 2018. But it was radio silence since that point.

    I've thrown around some ideas with the Washington builders, and there's been mixed enthusiasm. Seeing these other expos folding, it does give me pause.
    DT

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    "the fun outweighs the suck, and the suck hasn't killed me yet." -- chasea

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    I think on balance a maker has to find his own way. Take his own pull. Figure out what works for him (and him) alone. The show thing, a vestige from the post Y2K calendar turn, is a touchy feely thing that pays dividends to no one. I mean, it's cool and all to get down with your fellow crafters and shit. But that's not commerce. Or even exposure. It's certainly not a recipe for growth or longevity. We're all different. Independent. Embrace that and make it work for you.

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Maybe we just need a PNW show? Do you just think the interest in handmade frames is waning?
     

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinomaster View Post
    Maybe we just need a PNW show? Do you just think the interest in handmade frames is waning?
    No. Only the touchy feely crafter gatherings.

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    No. Only the touchy feely crafter gatherings.
    The Oregon Potters show is going strong, keeps getting bigger. The Gathering of the Guilds!
     

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinomaster View Post
    The Oregon Potters show is going strong, keeps getting bigger. The Gathering of the Guilds!
    The trade (my trade) is fine.
    It's the part-time fringe and hobbyists that have feet of clay.
    Pottery and ceramics have an ages old history that keeps it vibrant.
    Bicycle making as a creative outlet is relatively new.

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    The attractiveness of the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show has been uneven over the years. In the early years people crammed into small venues to see the likes of John Slawta/Landshark, Jones Bikes, Hampsten etc. Then we went to poorly lit giant industrial warehouse spaces to see less and less frame builders. For me, it was a fun thing to do for a few hours, but not a destination, whereas I have traveled to several NAHBS. I hope in the future they will find a more successful approach. I'm thinking something like the Chris King 30th Anniversary open house where bikes were on exhibit (no booths) and the builders were standing by. The good news is they have just announced the OBCA Framebuilders Showcase at VeloCult on the 18th.
     

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    From the article:

    Ahearne also thinks this cancellation might illustrate larger trends in our ever-changing city.

    “There’s a shift in the community, what felt for a long time like a big Portland family has changed,” he wrote. “It’s like all the kids grew up and left for college or something, and now Portland wants to be like other big cities, despite some of us with our nostalgia for the cheaper, grittier days. Newer members to the community don’t seem to want the old edgy Portland so much as a cleaner, more upscale living and shopping experience. Which is pushing a lot of people out.” Ahearne has also noted a significant decrease in the number of local builders.
    I don't know that there's anything new here, especially for people living in urban areas. As someone who worked in the industry during my 20s, it seems like the cycling business has always functioned as something of a watershed for young guys: a small number figure out how to make a living wage and stick with it by opening a shop, moving into distribution, or going to work for one of the big brands, but most relegate cycling to a hobby and move on with their lives.

    The shop rat life - seller, wrench, or builder - at 27 or 32 doesn't look the same as it did at 22. Nothing wrong with assessing economic realities and moving on with your life.

    If there's a difference, it seems that there's a limited generation of 22-32 year olds coming up to replace those who had 2.5 kids, became insurance salesmen, and moved to the suburbs.
     

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    I'm nobody because I'm not selling or buying lots of handmade bikes every year, but as a sporadic once every 5 years buyer of high end custom bikes I have to say I really look forward to the internet coverage of NAHBS every year, I think the gatherings have some value and it's a shame that it might not seem worth the effort for some of the builders that attend.
     

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Like Arik I don't have any skin in the game, but as a customer attending the Bespoked show in the UK, it feels like many new builders just use the show as a springboard. Once they have attended two or three years, make contacts and build an order book, they often don't commit to going again. I'm sure it must be good for confidence to get your product up on a stand and gauge consumer reaction in the early days. Admittedly though the UK was behind the curve compared to the US in terms of established builders of custom bikes, and maybe the number of new builders emerging will level off now. It will be interesting to see if it retains momentum in the next five years or not. Hopefully not all shows will go the way of thus Oregon show as they are great events to attend as a customer.
    IF / Shand / Ritchey / Cinelli

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    As a bike show groupie I am a bit of the opinion that the exhibitors should be paid for their time rather than paying for space. Or at least exhibit for free. This can be aided by big sponsors paying for their own exhibition.

    As a fan of the genre, I go to browse and mix and meet friends. But I'm not really going to buy. For the exhibitors it's a big time and money suck for likely not much reward other than the socializing and showing off their craft.

    I'd happily pay more entrance fee to subsidize this but I'm probably in the minority. I can't imagine the expense for a craftsperson to exhibit knowing they might generate zero sales and they're losing time from building for customers who have already paid. None of these builders is getting rich off building bikes.
    Last edited by Saab2000; 6 Days Ago at 10:06 AM.
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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisn View Post
    Like Arik I don't have any skin in the game, but as a customer attending the Bespoked show in the UK, it feels like many new builders just use the show as a springboard. Once they have attended two or three years, make contacts and build an order book, they often don't commit to going again. I'm sure it must be good for confidence to get your product up on a stand and gauge consumer reaction in the early days. Admittedly though the UK was behind the curve compared to the US in terms of established builders of custom bikes, and maybe the number of new builders emerging will level off now. It will be interesting to see if it retains momentum in the next five years or not. Hopefully not all shows will go the way of thus Oregon show as they are great events to attend as a customer.
    For a small shop with a full queue of orders, why go to a show? Doesn't make sense to me from an economic standpoint.

    It cost money to attend. There's the entry fee to display at the show, travel, lodging, food, all the stuff that goes into the booth (plus a way to transport and somewhere to store all that stuff when not in use) - all that cost money. Plus time away from the shop, time not building bikes and getting them out the door.

    If you're already doing all the business you can, why spend money looking for more work?

    It's not cheap going to these things. Booth prices start at $1200 at NAHBS. NAHBS 219 :: SpinGo
    Last edited by dgaddis; 6 Days Ago at 10:13 AM.
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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by dgaddis View Post

    It's not cheap going to these things. Booth prices start at $1200 at NAHBS. NAHBS 219 :: SpinGo
    This is a lot of money for a one-man/woman builder or exhibitor, not counting travel costs, lodging and hours lost.

    I'd rather see this subsidized by higher admission for fans (like myself) and maybe some larger sponsors like, for example, QBP, Shimano, Campagnolo, Sram, etc., all of whose products are displayed or installed on the bikes being exhibited.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by dgaddis View Post
    For a small shop with a full queue of orders, why go to a show? Doesn't make sense to me from an economic standpoint.

    It cost money to attend. There's the entry fee to display at the show, travel, lodging, food, all the stuff that goes into the booth (plus a way to transport and somewhere to store all that stuff when not in use) - all that cost money. Plus time away from the shop, time not building bikes and getting them out the door.

    If you're already doing all the business you can, why spend money looking for more work?

    It's not cheap going to these things. Booth prices start at $1200 at NAHBS. NAHBS 219 :: SpinGo


    I think we are agreeing - I can completely understand why the exhibitors decide not to re-attend once they have established the level of traction they need.
    IF / Shand / Ritchey / Cinelli

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisn View Post
    I think we are agreeing - I can completely understand why the exhibitors decide not to re-attend once they have established the level of traction they need.
    We are indeed.

    And I think Saab's idea is right on - make it free for the exhibitors (at least the frame builders...maybe charge wheel/component companies) and make the entry fee for attendees the way to make $$.

    All that said, the show promoters have to turn a profit too, and maybe the numbers don't work if let the builders in for free. That said, am I correct in thinking Don has transitioned from building bikes full time to doing NAHBS full time now, with a couple of bike builds a year on the side?
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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    I totally get that the show organizers have to turn a profit. And I think most folks would like these shows to be viable. But to put the burden on exhibitors who don't make much to begin with seems counterproductive. My recollection was that it cost me $20-30 for a 3-day admission pass to NAHBS. I no longer remember, but it wasn't much.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    I totally get that the show organizers have to turn a profit. <cut>
    At the front end, the show (sic) concept was to be a gathering not a commercial venture. It was actually nice. When the energy flow spilled over, pressure from non-makers who wanted in on the party created conflicts that led to a change in direction. People had to make their own decisions regarding what was best for their convictions. I often say you can walk on water, or you can walk on watered down.

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    At the front end, the show (sic) concept was to be a gathering not a commercial venture. It was actually nice. When the energy flow spilled over, pressure from non-makers who wanted in on the party created conflicts that led to a change in direction. People had to make their own decisions regarding what was best for their convictions. I often say you can walk on water, or you can walk on watered down.
    I would also like a purity of the concept. Ultimately the organizer needs an incentive to organize and that’s usually money.

    I see your point and you’re a builder. I am not. I’m just a fan.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: No more Oregon Handmade Bike Show.

    I like the purity of the concept of a gathering. It's kind of what I saw in the Baller's Ride (from my sideline view anyway), and I had envisioned putting something similar together in this area. I had put the word out, to friends, builders, loads of riders and industry folks. Interest seemed high, follow-through low. Not sure what the deal is -- is the route too difficult, time of year wrong (mid-end of July), or that it spans two days (though I'm clear that folks are free to do either day or both if they choose), or maybe that it's free, and I provide free food and beer post-ride on day 1, or a bad location (based out of a large casino just a few miles off a major highway)? Whatever, I've put the ride on 4 years now, with varying response. Maybe I'll try a 1-day thing later in the year... Steve Hampsten hosted a ride up Snoqualmie Pass that I attended, probable 60 riders showed up. Most were on customs.
    DT

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