Bus Full Of Nuns

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That was the secret phrase among staff and volunteers all weekend at the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show. It’s short for “can’t say no to a bus full of nuns”, and refers to all the people with stories of why they should be let in for free or get a discount. “My uncle is in there.”, “I’m only going to stay a few minutes.” “I just want to see one thing.” “I need to bring my bike in to be looked at.” Although she was not the one to initiate the phrase (that distinction goes to Justin!) Mary Elizabeth of alloneword told us she has said no to an actual bus full of nuns who wanted to use the restroom at the shop she used to work at (the shop wasn’t open yet and she didn’t bend the rules for them.) Go Mary!

Yes, entrance to the show was a hot commodity– my tiny self busted some boys for re-selling their wristbands outside. Next year, it’s hand stamps!

The event was full of surprises of all kinds and I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in producing a larger show in an unfamiliar city (unfamiliar to me, that is). The bicycling community in San Diego is very different from Philadelphia’s. That’s something I should have assumed before going in, but my “one-love” and we’re-all-in-this-together approach to the world of cycling had me unprepared for particular challenges. Consider me now schooled!

There were no issues with bike parking, something I was concerned about ahead of time. At first, the security guard wasn’t letting bikes in the venue. Then the facilities manager said, “You listen to this little girl. She’s the boss.”

The women’s panel was one of many good surprises. It was lively and well-attended. A wide range of issues were addressed on the topic of empowering female cyclists, including education, advocacy, and safety. Richard Schwinn added his comments from the back of the room and then actively and animatedly participated in the discussion, sharing experiences and anecdotes about his daughter. Richard’s own seminar was packed. Attendees were sitting on the floor and out in the hall to catch his presentation on Paramount history. Other highlights included Dave Bohm’s brazing demo (don’t try this at home, kids!); the fashion show (I didn’t think I would, but I ended up joining the other models and strutted my stuff on the runway!); and the performance by the MotherFluxers. That’s Brian Baylis, Paul Sadoff (of Rock Lobster), and Stephen Bilenky, to you! Impressive what a bunch of far-flung musician/framebuilders, or should I say, framebuilder/musicians could throw together with no rehearsal!

As of this writing, I’m heading to Sea Otter. Ladies’ Day at Sea Otter is happening as planned, despite the efforts of some “haters” who protested its creation, demanding “equal time” for men. (Now that’s a perfect opportunity to say WTF, if I ever saw one!) I’ve been invited to sit on the Ladies’ Day panel to discuss Women Specific Design. The other panelists are all illustrious framebuilders and designers of cycling gear. I’ll be representing Bilenky Cycle Works despite the fact that brazing, welding, or any other hands-on aspect of fabrication is not and never has been part of my job description. I’m not sure what I’ll be asked, but I’ll wing it. How could this go wrong?



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