As previously reported, the 2010 version of the North American Handmade Bike Show is in Richmond, VA from 2/26-2/28 and since it's only 1:20 from my driveway to the Greater Richmond Convention Center (GRCC), there's no way I could live with myself if I missed it. Oh, and as an added bonus, we're having an impromptu meet-n-ride with some of the PdC's Mid-Atlantic contingent.
I filled out a volunteer form online and was accepted to be part of the "setup crew" today (Thurs.) and a "greeter" tomorrow morning. Here are some notes I'd like to share cuz I had a pretty cool day. Warning: The following content contains name-dropping.
I left work just before lunchtime and had to stop by my LBS for something real quick-like. The regional Shimano Rep. was there peddling his wares and I listened and watched as he described the Di2 gruppo installed on this very unique looking Holland bike. This thing was titanium with some kinda weird carbon exo-grid deal going on with the seat tube, D/A wheelset and new Hutchinson tires...very cool. About that time, Wayne Stetina walks in (he's with Shimano), sees me standing there (I guess he assumed I was someone of importance?), introduces himself and then launches into a detailed sales pitch on every single aspect of this bike. I excuse myself (I gotta go to the show) and as I'm getting into my car, Wayne and a staff guy have rolled this thing out to the sidewalk. I grab my camera and return to Wayne and ask for a picture with him. Of course, he obliged. Here's the cool part...he insists that I take this thing for a spin around the block! Really? I'm Joe Scrub off the street. I'm wearing steel toed shoes. So I got to take my first ride with Di2 on some whacky looking frame. If you want a review of bike/gruppo, I'll give you one later. Now, I gotta get to the show...
There were about 15-20 setup volunteers and there really wasn't much for us to do. Unloaded some stuff for a bunch of indy guys from Minnesota and help set up some of their racks and stuff. Most exhibitors apparently preferred to do things themselves. But, instead of sitting around, I cruised the other areas and offered help to anyone who looked like they needed it, but was generally underutilized. Couple cool points:
1) Dario Pegoretti caught my gaze and rushed over to shake my hand "buon giorno!" I asked if he needed any help with anything and he declined.
2) I was standing around looking goofy (or normal) and Richard Sachs walks by, shifts the stuff in his hands to shake mine and introduces himself and thanks me for helping out.
3) Doriano DeRosa was busy setting up banners and did not look like he wanted to be disturbed.
4) The crews from Bilenky, Vanilla and Brompton are some hard-core looking dudes. They live the life, so to speak. The got some old-style shop looking displays and, of course, some sweet bikes.
Those of you planning to attend I have a few notes:
1) The entrance to Exhibit Hall 'D' is on the Northeast corner of the GRCC, so go in the entrance nearest the Richmond Coliseum.
2) There are several parking lots and garages around there. The garages have a 7' 6" clearance so I hope you have a big trunk, cuz I'm putting my bike in it.
3) The exhibit hall is friggin' freezing, Mr. Bigglesworth! Bring a sweater.
That's all for now. I'll share pix and more stories later.