The showcase for bike frame builders and their craft continues a run of bad luck. But there’s hope on the horizon.
Organizers canceled this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) on July 20. The announcement upset nearly a year of anticipation for its post-pandemic return.
Primary organizer Don Walker announced the event’s cancellation Wednesday on the group’s Facebook page. Walker said “an unexpectedly low number of commitments” from exhibitors had led to the decision.
“While this lack of support is disappointing, we understand that exponentially rising costs, travel uncertainties, supply chain challenges and pandemic fears may have contributed to these business decisions,” Walker said in the post. “Whatever the reasons, we cannot escape the conclusion that this year it is commercially impossible to present the kind of show that you are used to and have come to expect from us.”
Organizers had scheduled the event for September 23-25 in Denver’s National Western Complex. Its cancellation means this is the third consecutive year without the NAHBS. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the show from taking place in 2020 and 2021.
Then Walker announced in October of last year that the show would finally return in 2022 — now, unfortunately, to no avail.
2023 Brings New ‘MADE’ Show, NAHBS Return
Looking ahead, 2023 could finally herald the triumphant return of handmade bicycle fervor. To support this segment of the industry, ECHOS Communications, an active outdoor lifestyle public relations firm, told GearJunkie it will launch a handmade bicycle show called “MADE” in Portland next year.
“ECHOS has had the pleasure of working directly with a myriad of builders and domestically produced cycling products over the last decade,” ECHOS vice president Billy Sinkford told GearJunkie. “We are honored and excited to start this new journey to support and elevate the handmade community.”
No further details on MADE have been released, but GearJunkie has confirmed more info to come soon.
In its last event in 2019, NAHBS included at least 18 awards for exhibitors, including Best Artisan Bike, People’s Choice and, of course, Best In Show. When Walker canceled the event on Wednesday, exhibitors left over a dozen comments expressing dismay at the turn of events.
Walker said NAHBS will go on next year, with a promised return to Denver.
“We waited as long we reasonably could before making this difficult call in hopes that more exhibitors would decide to attend. We plan to return to Denver in 2023 with a show designed for our rapidly changing industry,” Walker wrote. “If you are among the exhibitors that committed to attend this year’s show, you have my deep appreciation and gratitude.”