Oregon is home to many great things. Great coffee. Great beer. Great food. Great outdoors. And, of course, great bikes. Did you know that Oregon has over 40 custom bike builders? Breadwinner. Vanilla. Co-Motion. Bike Friday. Strawberry. Metrofiets. Ahearne Cycles. Ti Cycles. Cielo. Sweetpea. And many more. All made here in Oregon.
Unfortunately, many Oregonians aren’t aware of the wealth of locally-made, handmade bikes Oregon has to offer. Which is where Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association comes in. Founded in 2007, OBCA is a non-profit trade organization working to promote Oregon’s handmade bike framebuilders and bicycle manufacturing companies.
One way they do this is through the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. The only West Coast handmade bicycle show of it’s kind, it showcases the amazing bikes that Northwest builders are crafting. This bicycle show is pretty sweet in and of itself, but this year they are upping the ante. OBCA and Hopworks Urban Brewery have decided to collaborate. Instead of hosting two separate events (i.e. Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show and BiketoBeerFest), they are uniting for one mega event: the Oregon Handmade Bike & Beer Festival on September 27th & 28th. 2 days. 1 event. Complete with local brewers pouring hand-crafted beers and custom frame builders showing handmade bicycles. There will be music and tasty eats too. “[It’s an] intangibility of high quality craft. Craft beer AND craft bikes,” shared Dave Levy, President of OBCA and owner of Ti Cycles.
With over twenty bike fabrication companies from as far away as Japan and as close as Goose Hollow planning to attend, the Handmade Bike and Beer Festival is a great opportunity to interact with frame builders. Not only can you learn about what they are building and how, you can discuss things you might want in a future bike. It’s also a chance to simply walk around and look at some really cool bikes. As most attending frame builders don’t sell through retail bike shops, you’ll get to check out bicycles you wouldn’t otherwise get to see.
While there, enjoy each builders interpretation of framebuilding. For Levy, it’s all about crafting a bike that fits the rider. He believes “it’s not just about the hardware, but [also about] something made for you.” And thus, as a custom frame builder, he seeks to answer the question, “How do you make it so bikes do different things well.”
Custom frame builders, like any small business, face unique challenges. In addition to helping promote Oregon bike builders, the OBCA is also helping framebuilders by offering a fork testing service. Through their collaborative efforts and mechanical prowess, OBCA developed a machine which tests forks to the CEN Standards (i.e. European Committee for Standardization which sets the current international standards for bicycle’s and their connecting devices regarding mechanical safety and testing methods). This OBCA-provided service helps create a standard for quality and fit-ness for small handmade builders who otherwise fall between the standards of large companies and very small, one-off builders. In short, it helps OBCA members and custom builders to ensure the quality of their product while helping them become better builders and letting them know what they can do to improve. A pretty sweet service indeed.
Mark your calendar. September 27th & 28th is the first Handmade Bike & Beer Fest put on by OBCA and Hopworks Urban Brewery. Come out to enjoy and support locally-made beer and bikes and stay for the fun. Because ultimately, it’s all about fun.