I attended A Ruota Libera in San Francisco last Sunday. Planned on getting there via bike/BART, but rain in the East Bay got me to thinking car/BART would be a better choice, so I drove, in the rain, to West Oakland Station. Took a train to Civic Center Station, and the Sun was shining when I got out of the station. Yes, I should have left the car parked. Six blocks and ten minutes later found me across the street from Una Pizza Napoletana. There were a few bike enthusiasts hanging out on the sidewalk in front.
Inside was a different story.
A variety of handmade bikes and components were on display, and the many of the people involved in making the bikes and parts were there to shake hands, answer questions, and talk about their craft. I had the pleasure of speaking with a few of these craftsmen. Some even posed for a photo or two. I felt more like I was at a gallery reception, or a (really big!) family reunion, than an ‘industry show’. I had an amazing time!
Most, if not all, of us are familiar with Interbike and NAHBS. Bike shows don’t get bigger or more important on a national level. They are the equivalent of a Superbowl or World Series for the bicycle industry and serious enthusiasts. They are events that you buy plane tickets for and make hotel reservations to attend. It’s an investment in time and money.
The local bike show can be the equivalent of a regional or state championship. Still champions in their respective fields; the skill, enthusiasm, spirit, community, and fun are all there, just closer to home. No need to fly or stay overnight. I left my house in Alameda around 1 PM, spent a few hours at A Ruota Libera, and got home before the Sun went down.
The San Diego Custom Bike Show is from April 8th to the 10th. If you live in Southern California, you ought to check it out. The PDX Bicycle Show is April 9th and 10th. If you are near Portland, well…
If a local bike show, expo, exhibition, convention, etc. is coming to your area, in the near future, please comment, and I’ll help spread the word.