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November 9, 2022 / bikesbytesbites

2022 Philadelphia Bike Expo

The last weekend in October I went to the Philly Bike Expo.  I’ve attended the expo for several years. I combine the trip with visits to friends who live in or near Philadelphia. I typically bring my Bike Friday, so I can ride round town and participate in the rides sponsored by the expo. But this year I decided to buy a 3-day pass to Philly’s bike share system, Indego.  Never again.  The bikes seem much kludgier, heavier, and harder to steer than other bike share bikes I’ve ridden in NYC and DC. I limited my bicycling to getting between the expo, my hotel, and various restaurants.

Accessories and Apparel

Nancy, one of the friends I had lunch with on Friday, is in the market for  new set of panniers. I said I would look around the expo and report on what I found.  Answer: Nothing. Bike touring with panniers is evidently passee. Many booths featured bags for bikepacking – frame bags, handlebar bags, feed bags (stem bags), saddle wedges. I’m not a big fan, because the bags have less capacity than panniers and many (most?) won’t fit on smaller bikes (such as mine).  Oh, and Wald baskets are very in.

  • ABUS Mobile Security, Inc. – Great locks.
  • Big Bobble Hats – Cute, but what do they have to do with cycling?
  • Bullmoose Softgoods LLC – bikepacking
  • Clixtherapy – click-activated heating pads in various shapes to match body parts
  • Green Guru – Showed them the ID card holder I bought from them at the last expo. 
  • Kryptonite Locks & Lights – Had a great talk with one of the sales people. Told him Kryptonite’s combination chain locks are better designed than the Abus – Easier to dial and the locking mechanism is easier to handle. (I have owned an Abus for a while, but was “forced” to buy a new lock, a Kryptonite, last weekend, when I left home for  a biking weekend with a lock but without its key.)
  • R.E.Load Baggage – bikepacking
  • Route Weeks – handlebar bags, including liners for Wald baskets
  • SILCA – When did Silca branch out from pumps?
  • Take a Trip Bags – bikepacking
  • UNDRBUDR – salves and nutrition

Advocacy

  • Bicycle Club of Philadelphia (BCP) – Helped them set up the booth on Friday afternoon. Then cme by on Saturdy to say hello.
  • Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia – Had a good conversation about the early days. I wasn’t a founding member (50 years ago), but some friends were.
  • Piscitello Law – The one presentation I attended was on bike law and bike crashes, delivered by Piscitello. Unfortunately I was familiar with most of the concepts he discussed, but it was an excellent presentation.

Bicycle Manufacturers

In addition to many custom frame builders (steel bikes!) better known brands were there, including   Breezer, Fuji, Jamis , Ritchey, and Tern.    I mostly walked by. I did stop to inspect the Rivendells .

Bike Shops

Many local shops had booths, but the only one that I spent some time at was Firth & Wilson Transport Cycles. They make cargo bikes but more important, they are the US repair shop for Brooks saddles. They do a great job. I sent my 20+ year old Brooks to them for repair earlier this year. The price was reasonable as was the time elapsed, including mail to-and-from, and the saddle repair was impeccable. 

Components and Tools

Many of the exhibitors are better suited for people much more technical than I, i.e., people who make frames and bicycles.  I stuck with the more consumer oriented booths.

Distributor

Mel Pinto Imports / VAR Tools – Wayne Bingham not only runs Vélo Classique but is the VAR Tools distributor.  Well, he runs Vélo Classique (out of a storefront in Purcellville, a block off the W&OD) until December (?) of this year, when his lease is up. He’s been moving some of the stock to his property outside of Lovettsville and hopes to continue work from there. But the custom bike work and repairs might have to be reduced.

Framebuilders

I didn’t pay that much attention to frame builders, because I’m not currently in the market for a new, custom bike. However, these vendors caught my eye or my ear:

  • Bilenky Cycle Works – they run the place. Hard to ignore. And had an intriguing bicycle with tiny wheels.
  • Bishop bikes – stopped to talk because they made a bike owned by Dan, one of the friends I was walking around the expo with.
  • Co-Motion Cycles Had a lovely conversation with one of the salespeople. (Ed F says it was probably Ethan.) The exhibit consisted of many tandems and one single.  That reminded me of the Co-Motion single, with S&S couplers, that one of the riders on my Big Bend TX tour was riding.  (It turns out there were two such Co-Motions; silly me.) Anyhow, I mentioned that I wasn’t in the market for a bike because I loved my touring bike, made by Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea around 10 years ago.  Ethan asked me what model: Little Black Dress. And then asked if the bike was lavender.  Well, it’s a shade of purple, so I guess that’s close enough. It turns out that Co-Motion works with Ramsland and he thought Co-Motion had made my bike! (Both are based in Portland OR.) Small world!

Other

Bicycle Paintings  – Nice exhibit including posters, cards, and refrigerator magnets.  But I still have some cards left from the last time I bought some. Highly recommended.

Summary  

The bike expo was a great way to spend  a day or two.  On subsequent trips I’m bringing my own bike. That would let me ride around town some more – I love the murals in Philadelphia and the city program that supports or sponsors them. I did pass one or two on my short rides. And the team jersey I saw on several women who are on an alley cat team in Pittsburgh was a highlight.

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One Comment

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  1. Jessica Hirschhorn / Nov 9 2022 8:21 pm

    I’d love to go next year, with my bike. Keep me in the loop!

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