It is not, as one person on Twitter commented, an artisanal crabon axe. It is a Specialized S-Works something or other frame and fork that may or may not be cracked:
This frame has seen many a Cat 3 race under my chamois, which means it has slid off the back like a toddler trying to stand on Mario Cipollini's unctuous back more times than I can count. So given its questionable structural integrity I gave it away "for display purposes only."
Anyway, as for how I got down there, after considering various multimodal options (Amtrak and Brompton, commuter rail and Brompton, hitch hiking and Brompton) I eventually decided that the most cost-efficient and time-efficient manner of travel was to say "screw it" and drive THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK.
Hey, don't blame me, blame America for incentivizing intercity travel by private automobile.
I'm just a victim of the system, man.
Speaking of Bromptons, it turns out that if you rode one to the Expo on Saturday you got in free, as the owner of the bike on the left told me:
I took the above photo this past spring at my Brompton-Optional Bike Expo New York ride. It is customized specimen complete with disc brakes and Rohloff hub, and its owner very well be the most enthusiastic Brompton enthusiast in this hemisphere. I was pleased to see him again this past Saturday at my seminar, though I suppose it was probably just a pretense to ride his Brompton.
By the way, not only did I drive, but as a seasoned New York City driver I refused to pay for the space I took up with my vehicle and instead glommed some free street parking about a mile from the convention center and walked the rest of the way.
I maintain that qualifies as "multimodal."
Anyway, I arrived at the conference room with about 10 minutes to spare, and remember I told everyone to print and sign a release? Well, only one person did:
In retrospect I should have given him a prize just for doing that, but sadly it didn't occur to me, so thank you and please accept my apologies Satan of Fredonia--which I first read as Freedonia:
It's funny because his giant quill pen is longer than a regular pen and it wiggles in a humorous fashion when he writes.
As for for my seminar, I gave a quiz and lots of people won hats and books and stuff, as well as the aforementioned frame which I signed and bedazzled with stickers for the winner. The winner was also videotaping the event, so perhaps it will one day be available on line your your delectation and my humiliation.
After my seminar I sauntered over to the show itself, availing myself of this handsome crabon coat rack:
Speaking of racks, I got into a 20-minute argument with the proprietors of this booth when I insisted they must honor my Scalian interpretation of their sign and sell me the actual rack at 50% off:
A sign hastily written with a Sharpie is not a living and breathing document and should be read exactly the way the framers intended.
Sadly they were unmoved, so I moved on to this virtual trainer:
The best things about virtual trainers is you can virtually visit anywhere on the planet and do identical boring-ass road rides:
Then I went to what was clearly the cool booth, where people with knit hats and Slayer shirts were hanging out:
But I didn't linger because I knew I wasn't cool enough, as you can see in this photograph:
Which is probably why I got chased off the photo thingy:
("Hey, cool people only, man!")
So I went and perused some art instead:
I'm sure there's a story here, but I don't particularly need to know what it is:
Nevertheless, it's hanging in my living room now and nobody else in the household is particularly happy about it.
Of course, as a semi-professional bike blogger it's recumbent on me to seek out the latest trends, and whether you like it or not this whole e-bike thing is really catching on:
Finally, we've reached the point where nothing on a bike will work if it's not charged.
If bikes had started out this way then the advent of one that worked entirely mechanically would be considered an incredible innovation:
As it happens, I actually had that exact same bike:
I bought it used, and I think I found it in the Pennysaver if you can believe people used to exchange goods that way. From what I could tell the owner had never ridden the bike. It had original everything (including the Biopace rings and the gel saddle) and there was absolutely no wear on the grey anodized rims. It also had a Vetta computer on it the size of one of those old Coleco portable football games. I bought it as an auxiliary/second/training/city/whatever road bike, and believe me when I tell you that having not one but TWO road bikes hanging on my wall (a Cannondale and a Trek no less) made me feel like I'd truly arrived a total Fred. I even tried to convert it into a fixie at one point with disastrous consequences. (This was well before the fixie trend. Fixies were not yet cool I was a newly-minted bike racer and the common wisdom at the time was you were supposed to train on a fixed-gear bike.) Alas, I eventually sold it on the street in a moving sale and kind of wish I didn't, because I entered a period of Specialized ownership during which virtually all of them failed in one way or another.
But I digest.
Moving on, also still trendy? Bamboo:
I didn't actually listen to their conversation but I'm going to guess the guy on the left is explaining the advantages of bamboo as a frame material for the 426th time that day and the guy on the right will be the 426th person to say, "Wow, interesting!" and then walk away.
Surly also has a new go-anywhere bike with huge tires called the "Wednesday," which brings their total number of fat bike models up to like 50:
I'm a big Surly fan, but their lineup is totally bewildering, and the dude-to-dude copy on their website never helps. "The Portly combines the long wheelbase of the Tubby with the 36" tire clearance of the Porky and the 72 braze-ons of the Torpid. All share the the same 'Whatevs Bro' dropouts that are marginally compatible with every drivetrain spacing, axle size, and shifting system on earth, and are perfect for people who hang out around bonfires, wear flannel shirts, and drink beer out of cans. Just figure out exactly what kind of dirtbag you are and go to town!"
I was hoping this particular model name was an homage to me given my well-known "Wednesday" references, but apparently it's merely an Addams Family reference like the Pugsley.
I also wondered the same thing about Lone Wolf's name:
Remember that guy?
You can be sure both Surly and Lone Wolf Cycling will be hearing from my lawyers.
It's nothing bad, they just wanna say hi.
Then there was bamboo's stodgier cousin, wood:
Including the flammable belt drive crotch-crutch of your dreams:
I also got to see some of those famous show bikes you see all over the Internet after NAHBS. You may remember this ass-branding saddle, for example:
(If it doesn't sear your buttocks when you hop on after the latte stop then you're bound to get your "pants yabbies" caught in that two-pronged nose.)
Well, it turns out it's attached to this bike:
And it has an equally untenable cockpit:
That appears to be based around the Silver Surfer's schvantz:
Unfortunately the bottom has completely fallen out of the exotic customs market due to the fact that Robin Williams is dead and Lance Armstrong is still alive but can no longer afford them:
He paid $15,000 for that thing. If he hadn't attempted a comeback he'd still be jetting around buying the cheesiest bike at every bike show on earth.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the show bike spectrum is this horrid thing:
(Ground Up? It should be.)
I don't know what's going on with that rear triangle:
Nor do I wanna know:
But I do like those crankarms.
And of course to get the bike's full performance potential be sure to ride it in this:
On the other hand I was genuinely impressed by these bikes which were built by students in the University of Iowa's bicycle building class:
(Studying framebuilding in college: when philosophy is too practical.)
Hey, they're still in school and they're already running circles around Ol' Man Budnitz:
Good for them.
And naturally as an Engin owner myself I checked in there to discuss my next bike, which I'll be ready to order in about 30 years when I'm finally an empty-nester (though by then I hope he's building walkers because I'll be like 106):
See those bolts holding the dropout onto the frame?
They're also internally threaded for mounting fenders.
There was also a kids' test track:
Which unfortunately I was too tall to ride:
I limboed under it but they just said, "Nice try, putz."
And of course this being Philly there were not one:
But two home improvement booths:
I'm hoping next year Kohler is showing:
If so, it's only a matter of time until Calfee starts making crabon commodes.
Speaking of stuff you can get at Home Depot, someone had to come around with a wet-dry vac every 15-20 minutes because of all the people drooling over Richard Sachs:
("We need another cleanup here ATMO.")
Anyway, as much as I would have liked to linger the ol' New Jersey Turnpike was a-callin', so I headed back towards my car and narrowly avoided getting plowed over by some Segway Freds:
I also passed this rock club:
I subsequently looked up "Need To Breathe" and learned they're a Christian band, which would explain why nobody wanted to buy any of the hard drugs I was offering. Also, I was glad to be skipping town before the Bret Michaels gig on the 25th.
In all, it was an enjoyable trip, and so by way of an epilogue I took a ride on my Engin the next day:
See you there next year, and if you need me I'll be drooling over the lugged toilets.