San Diego Custom Bicycle Show, April 2011

Detail, MAP randonneuse

Although we missed the first two editions of the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show, the fortuitous amounting of Amtrak travel miles meant a free (and unutterably delightful) train trip there and back along the famed California coast to a city that proved to have a surprising number of local riders pedaling along its streets and boulevards, an impressive rail transit system, and beautiful weather, with occasional rains cleansing the sky to make every waking moment a touch of ecstasy to eye and lung.

The show itself was also a delight to the eye, as well as to the urban sensibility, boasting a number of practical bikes along with the usual road and cyclocross models--and, of course, outrageous show bikes designed more to snag your attention than to be ridden on city streets. (Be forwarned: we skipped photographing most of those in favor of more practical velos.) Brian Baylis was of course there, as well as co-sponsor Joe Bell, both icons of fine bike making, and Bilenky Cycles came in from Philly (Stephen Bilenky's daughter Bina managed the event), along with Steelman, Soulcraft, B Spoke Tailor, Greg Townsend, and many others identified in the photo captions. There was enough going on we couldn't capture it all, but I hope we've succeeded in giving you a taste of this most pleasurable event!

It really lifted our street-riding little hearts to see so many designs meant for commuting, shopping, or touring on display, as well as relevant accessories. We hope our selection will please you as much.

You can find a full list of exhibitors and more at the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show website.

Text by Richard Risemberg, Photos by Gina Morey Risemberg

Golden Hall, San Diego

Mitch Pryor randonneuse

Mitch Pryor cyclocrosser

Ahearne off-road touring bike

Best headbadge of show!

The inevitable bamboo bike

The inevitable hardwood bikes

DiNucci detail

One of Doug Fattic's Ukraine project bikes at Massengill's booth

Muse city bike

Curved tube close-up

Hjeltness bags on a sweet vintage frame

Close up of Hjeltness bags

What you can do when you have a CNC mill at home!

Brian Bayliss, master builder and painter, show boss

Rick, Joe Bell, Steelmans

Free espresso from Taylor Cycles!

Liebo Bikes

This bike features an eccentric headset for varying the head angle!

Schmidt eDelux dyno headlamp

Paragon Machine Works

Paul Components

Alloneword hats

Custom hats from Mary Elizabeth

Belt drive on Santana tandem

Santana's new coupling system--very sweet!

Shelly Horton by Stephen Bilenky


Greg Townsend

Beautiful Victoria city bike