California Dreamers #4

It was severly cold against my expectations in California in March. In a daytime, the weather finally brought a California atmosphere with warmth, but when sun went down, the temperature fell deeply.

On this trip, I borrowed SIX MOON DESING tent from Keita who traveled OREGON TIMBER TRAIL last year. It was very beneficially to carry a light tent without a floor mat on a bike packing ride.

I thought, “It is California, so it must be warm enough to sleep in a matless tent!”.

I challenged to this trip with light equipments and unfounded confidence. However, it was hella cold.
I survived through the whole night sleeps with my sleeping bag and an emergency sheet, but unfortunately I woke up many times in the middle of the night because of cold.

I was tossed about in unexpected winter rain and cold on this California trip, but nothing will be learned without any challenges. So, this trip was something for me for sure.

We, SimWorks, decided to exhibit our products at the NAHBS show in Sacramento because we had heard that it was happening in California again. I was looking for what I could do when we all prepared something, and I kept in contact with Adam Sklar, a frame builder of SKLAR BIKES. We thought it was a very rare opportunity, so we wanted to approach in a different way of exhibiting, not just building a booth at the show.

At the end, he decided to give priority to his back orders he had rather than building a show bike and not to have a booth at the show. However, Nick gave me a plan for a trip ride for me.

Day 2, I was able to finish my weak point, a big climb on Berryessa Peak. We finally arrived in Sacramento after the sunset. The show on the first day was already finsiehd… I was planning to get there while the show was happening, but unfortunately, my crew needed to build a booth and manage everything without me. I felt so sorry for everyone, but at the same time exhaustion and a feel of accomplishment came to me when 2nd day started.

Last year in Conneticut, which we didn’t attend, and the year before last was in Saltlake City. Now, we have NAHBS in California. This was a 3rd time for NAHBS in Sacramento. When NAHBS opened in a 2nd day, so many people visited our booth.

I don’t know how I can tell you about this, but it was something like comfort I felt through their talks having said, “I use SimWorks!”. Some said, “I want you to make something like this…” I met so many people face to face and able to talk with them a lot about our products. I believe that California is definitely something for us.

Compared to the time I first visited NAHBS in 2012, the show bikes at each booth today showed a new standard and the latest idea a long with the change of time, but I realized that nothing had been changed essentially.

It doesn’t matter if the time evolves so fast or not. It is us, a human being, who uses the tools to do something and it wil never change the reason why handmade bike exists through thinking about how we ride our bikes first of all.

It depended on a frame builder, but it seemed a lot of show bikes went to owners who ordered before the show, and I couldn’t help imagining how they ride this and that bikes.

When I asked some builders, they told me, “This bike owner lives blah blah blah, and he or she is this and that type of cyclists, and…” with big smiles.

I think it is very much important to know who build your own bike because it carries your life on it.

DESALVO CUSTOM CYCLES / Steel Gravel Special VW inspired paint
SIMPLE BICYCLE&CO / Ti All Road for Chris Diminno!
RETROTEC CYCLES / Double All Road with custom OuterShell FrameBag
SYCIP DESIGNS / Travel Gravel Breakaway Touring Bike

NAHBS is not just a place to find rare things and new stuffs, but also social meeting place with creators and able to talk a lot about their stories.

Adam Sklar didn’t have a booth there, but he visited this place from Montana to California. It was simply that all he wanted was taking to the others and having a fun talk with them.

At the same time, it brings us oppotunities to meet our new customers and also it is a place to exchange our experiences and knowledges to our fellows who do the same job, a frame building, like us.

In 2012, I visited NAHBS in Sacramento for the first time, I still remembered that NAKED BICYCLES had a placard said that they did a long ride trip from Vancouver to Sacramento. Their bike was exhibited without washing any parts and showed dirt as they just arrived then. I was very shocked to see the way they exhibited.

I asked Nick which bike was the coolest one. He said, “Every bike was cool, but Rie’s Doppo was the best. Because she rode it here and the dirt shows more reality than any other bikes right?”

Yes, this is the reason why I wanted to ride and get to the show with our bike.

Any bikes cannot be completed without a person who rides it.

Being able to feel those bike with five senses is the reason why NAHBS is such an amazing show in this world.

I received the news of Bruce Gordon‘s death in this morning, a legend frame builder in California.

Not just only buidling a frame, but also he made brakes, handles and tires. Bruce was the neccesary of talking about frame builders in California. His presence had a power that affected so many frame builders in this world.

I met him at NAHBS in Sacramento, 2012, and I still remembered that he talked to me about Rock’n Road Tire cheerfully even though I was very nervous to meet him in person.

He retired last year, but he showed up at NAHBS this year, so I still cannot believe he was gone. Mr. Bruce, May your soul rest in peace.

Ride in Peace Bruce.



California Dreamers #1 | Text by Shinya Tanaka

California Dreamers #2 | Text by Rie Sawada

California Dreamers #3 | Text by Nicholas Haig-Arack

California Dreamers #4 | Text by Toyoshige Ikeyama