I realized the cost for driving vs. flying is very similar. And of course exhibiting at NAHBS is a high expense for a micro operation like mine. However, working alone everyday can be like a caveman. And this is how my wife sees it too. The event not just let me see the world more by traveling to places I have not been to, but also to speak with fellow cyclists and fellow bike builders. There is a lot to learn and a lot to absorb.
One of the people I met this time was the people from Nova. I have used their product / service since the beginning, but had never met them (though they were in Portland last year, we did not get to speak with each other). Lon is the big cheese at Nova, a very nice person and understand the needs of us framebuilders. He was kind to my work on display and encouraged me about the ups and downs of a small niche business. Lon’s wife, Lisa, was equally nice and kept my wife in saner conversations. They are both not involved in the bicycle industry and have their proper profession. I believe their conversation was way more contemporary and way less geeky.
I was surprised how much of the small details on the bikes were noticed, not everyone, but a good portion of people who stopped in my booth. I try to personalize each bike with small subtle bits when the situation allows, but they are not always noticed or even appreciated. These little subtlety is in fact the things that I spend more time on to try and blend in without it sticking out like a sore thumb. It is very satisfying to know that there are a lot of people who appreciate my work. Another interesting thing that I learned is there are a lot of Americans who had been to Hong Kong and China and this kind of cultural exchange is always intriguing.
The small interview I did with Urban Velo was fun. I get to talk up Fort Collins a bit and interact with the public not just through pictures of my work. If you are interested to hear it, here is a link. I appear at about 10:50.
It is good to see the weather being warmer this week, and the clock had just sprung forward last night. Spring is truly in the air, although the Colorado front range is extremely dry and wild fire is on the verge of breaking out any time. I have a few road frames upcoming and a 29er. All of them I am very excited to build because the customers are all very appreciative of us small framebuilders. The economy may be sucking the wind out of everyone, but I hope the change allows us to think and ride a bit and remember that it will all be fine in the long run.