North American Handmade Bike Show. February. Austin. All good reasons to plan a mini-vacation.
We departed Baltimore on a 25 degree morning. Three hours later we landed in Austin, greeted by rain and a muggy 75 degrees. It felt great.
We took a cab to the house we stayed in, the Zilker Prairie House. John booked the stay through Airbnb. It turned out we were in a beautiful neighborhood with nearby restaurants and shops and a 15–minute walk from downtown Austin and convention center.
Our first experience with Airbnb was, overall, good. One of our hosts, James, showed us a nearby hole-in-the-wall restaurant, the Whip In, home of an amazing beer selection, Indian-Tex Mex food (yes) and other amazements. Yes it was dark, a bit dingy, and had booths complete with sprung seats. I’d go back there in a heartbeat. It was great and without James, we’d never have found it. Robin, our other host, went out of her way to offer breakfast, snacks and restaurant suggestions. Renting through Airbnb was a lot less expensive than a hotel, far more personal, and a great way to get to know Austin during our stay.
Our first trip was to Lance Armstrong’s bike shop, Mellow Johnnys. We went there twice on the first day; once in the afteroon just to check it out and later at 9PM to see two Rapha films. We didn’t make it through both films. I was cold, tired and ready to head back. The store was much more than I’d expected. It offered bikes for everyone, cargo-haulers, commuters, tourers and racers and clothes of all sorts. A couple of days later we stopped there again en route home from what turned out to be a vigorous ride around Zilker Park.
At Mellow Johnny’s
A couple of other South Austin photos:
Austin Steelers bar
Costume shop on Congress St, near the house we stayed in. Clever name.
We spent two days at the NAHBS; the first just checking out the bikes and picking up some stuff, the second spending more time than we thought we would. We ended up meeting and talking with frame builders, the Bicycle Times staff members, and even an acquaintance from the DC area. I bought more than I imagined I would but am really happy with what I got:
- a tweed jacket from Sheila Moon. The tweed jacket is distinctive with a tailored fit, rear zippered pocket and small sleeve pocket. Sheila used the ladies room on the show’s floor as a dressing room. The other women in there agreed the knickers just didn’t work for me. Way too baggy in the legs. Too bad!
- a small handlebar bag from Bailey Works. The Bailey Works bag — made expecially for the show — offers a way to carry the small things you want with you on your bike. I immediately put it on my Tikit, and it has been quite useful. It removes easily and I’ll be able to use it on my other bikes, too.
- a small pannier from CycleLogical. I used the Cyclelogical pannier as a tote, since we began collecting an array of booklets and purchases, but I haven’t yet tried it on the bike.
- comfortable wool socks from Alchemist Works.
I was happy to get a chance to talk with Mike Flannigan, owner of Alternative Needs Transportation. He built my mixte touring bike last year, a transaction handled by phone and email. It was fun to get to connect in person.
My ANT Mixte
Here are a few other photos from the NAHBS
Made for the builder’s wife, who commutes to her teaching job
This bench really caught my eye