I’m told my first injury as a toddler was cutting myself on a chainring after bumping into one of the many bikes crowding the hallway of our home. With Stephen Bilenky as my dad, I was destined for a life surrounded by framebuilding and custom bicycles. I began sorting bank slips at my father’s shop at age 14 to earn my allowance. You know the old saying about the shoemaker’s children going barefoot? I finally received my first Bilenky when I was 21. It was a pink and white 559 × 1.25” wheel touring bike with couplers.
After receiving a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, I put two of my interests together: event planning and bicycles. My “boss” is a to-do list, my office is a recliner, and my power suit is my pink pajamas. I’ve had a hand in organizing the 2008 Framebuilders Express Chicago-Portland train trip to NAHBS, the 2008 & 2009 Bilenky Urban Cyclocross junkyard races, and the 2010 Philly Bike Expo. Then there are my upcoming events: the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show April 8-10 and the Heartland Velo Show Aug 27-28. Welcome to my world.
I’ve been living in College Station, TX since fall 2009, so the road to NAHBS in Austin was not much more than a commute! It was good to see the familiar faces, and to greet so many new ones. Now I’m back at work, continuing to plan and present the 2011 San Diego Custom Bicycle Show. It’s less than a month away! There are still booths to sell, seminars to schedule and assistance to offer to Nan Eastep of B. Spoke Tailor. She’s coordinating the gala San Diego cycling fashion showcase. (Thanks for taking on the project, Nan!) So, I’m thinking I have it all pretty much under control and that this is the Best.Job.Ever. When James approached me about producing a twice-monthly column for Embrocation, besides being honored and flattered, I said, “Sure!”
But last week, San Diego show founder Brian Baylis got called away on a family emergency in L.A. (Wishing you the best, Brian!) This has resulted in my assumption of his show-related duties in addition to my own. And now I was just informed that the house where I’ve been living for the past year (and I’d been led to believe I could continue to rent on a month-to-month basis) has been sold out from under me and I have to vacate the premises by the end of March! Yikes! Will I be packing my bags for San Diego with no home to go back to?
I joke to my friends about my “gypsy” life—traveling light from place to place. I don’t own a car and get everywhere in my day-to-day on foot or via bike. Yesterday I had access to a vehicle and I still chose to walk to the grocery store. (Why don’t I have a cargo bike!?) But losing my house goes beyond! They say things happen in threes, so I’m bracing myself. Sometimes in the midst of all this excitement, details get hard to keep track of. I was making the exhibitor badges for Renovo Hardwood Bicycles and I pasted the name “Elwood Poodle” into the badge template. I thought, what an odd name! Afterwards, I went to their website. Elwood Poodle is — in fact — a poodle. Apparently I made an exhibitor badge for their dog! Zing! That’s how you know you’re on auto-pilot!
I’ll get one more column in before the San Diego Show that will update you on the latest goings-on. Maybe I’ll do a profile on a rider in the Gran Fondo, which takes place a couple blocks away the same weekend? Perhaps a profile on one of our exhibitors? I’m looking forward to hearing from you and meeting you in person. See you at a Show!