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Beers and Gears: The Oregon Handmade Bike and Beer Festival

Tuesday, September 16, 2014



Photo courtesy Breadwinner Cycles/Oregon Bicycle Constructor's Association

Ah, Portland. National capital of craft brews, micro roasts, artisanal donuts, and of course, handmade bikes. Over 40 custom bike builders hang their shingles in Portland and nearby.

In fact, the entire state of Oregon is a bike builder's mecca, and Portland boasts a population of bike builders almost as numerous as coffee shops.

Such prolific talent, of course, must have its showcase events, and this year's Oregon Handmade Bike and Beer Festival, Sept. 27-28, is sure to please.

The festival combines two of Portland's most colorful fall events for one über-event pairing Hopworks Urban Brewing's (HUB) BiketoBeerFest with the Oregon Bicycle Constructor's Association's Handmade Bicycle Show.

The show is an exclusively West Coast affair, and showcases bikes and bike parts and accessories crafted by local builders.

Exlusively West Coast Bike Show

Established in 2007, the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association (OBCA) is a nonprofit trade organization working to promote Oregon’s handmade bike builders. The Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show is an exclusively West Coast bike show that showcases bikes and bike parts and accessories crafted by Northwest builders.

The show is a fairly intimate affair—just the right number of designers and builders participating to provide a sampling of diverse design aesthetics and approaches.

HUB has always been a huge supporter of cycling and the brewery incorporates classic and vintage bike parts and frames into the décor of their two brewpub locations in Portland. Even their beer and food menus reflect their fondness for the sport, with cycling-themed lingo in the names of their offerings.

HUB sponsors many local racing teams and events and has hosted the annual BiketoBeer Fest since 2007, putting a perfectly Portland spin (pun intended) on the traditional Oktoberfest party.

People's Choice Award

In addition to enjoying craft brews and craft bikes, festivalgoers are invited to participate by voting for their favorite bike in the show; the winner receives the popular People's Choice award. The 2013 People's Choice winner was Portland's own Ahearne Cycles. Bike builder Joseph Ahearne is all about designing utilitarian bikes that are beautiful.


The 2013 People's Choice award winner by Joseph Ahearne of Ahearne Cycles.

“Part of the reason I built this bike was because I hadn't yet seen a really utilitarian bicycle made from stainless steel," said Ahearne. "Stainless is expensive, and the amount of time and labor required to bring it to a mirror finish was ridiculous, but the final product is so striking that I believe it was worth it.”

The people agreed and it's easy to see why. Ahearne's winning design is a brilliant, bright polished stainless steel touring bike. The bike features incredible details, such as breakaway frame design, integrated U-lock holder, frame mounted stainless steel whiskey flask, integrated frame bags, and a titanium spork, mounted to the head tube.

The event takes place Sept. 27-28 at Hopworks Urban Brewing's Powell location. Festival attendees will find beautiful bikes, handcrafted, limited edition bike-themed beers, HUB's tasty and and live music from local artists.

A number of local food vendors will be on hand, and HUB will serve pizza made from scratch, using locally sourced, organic and natural ingredients. Ruby Jewel ice cream provides a little sugar for your sweet tooth.

Admission to the handmade bicycle exhibit is $10 with proceeds benefiting OBCA. Beer tickets are available for purchase at the event.

Event Schedule:

Sept. 27, 2014
Bikes: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Bands and Beers: noon-9 p.m.

Sept. 28, 2014
Bikes and Beers: noon-5 p.m.

For more information about the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association visit their website.

To check out Hopwork's Urban Brewing menus and locations, visit www.hopworksbeer.com


Üma Kleppinger is a Portland-based copy writer, author and advocate for full-contact anti-bummer living, by bike. She is a recovering sesquipedalian who writes about life in the saddle and outdoor adventure. She is also the author of BikeYoga, a yoga program for cyclists. When not writing, she can be found riding and racing her mountain bike throughout the Pacific Northwest.


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