Back from the New England Builders’ Ball

Jake and I have just gotten back from the New England Builders’ Ball, plus a day at the Providence Cyclocross Festival. We packed up everything we needed – bags, display stands, banner, album, laptop, lamps, etc – into our panniers and backpacks and took our bikes on the Commuter Rail down to Providence, RI.

Dill Pickle Gear had a booth across from ANT Bikes and in between MSH1 Cycles and Paul Carson Bicycles in the ballroom in the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence, RI. The setting was elegant and there was lots of spectacular work on display from frame builders from all over the region. It’s always fun to get to see so many gorgeous bikes, especially since they’re made right here. And it’s great to meet the folks behind them too, especially since so many of them are practically neighbors.

builders' ball booth cropped

Among all the bikes were also two other local companies producing accessories: Exposed Seam, the work of a couple who make leg cuff that keeps your pants out of your drivetrain more neatly and completely than a regular reflective strap; and Cleverhood who make a rain cape designed to make all-weather city cycling better. Actually, I was volunteering on last year’s Boston 300k, which had cold rainy weather all day. There was one guy who rode in a Cleverhood rain cape, and he cruised happily around with a grin on his face all day while most other riders were shivering and suffering.

A few other highlights that immediately come to mind were the incredibly clean, streamlined work from MSH1 on one side of us, especially the small bike on display with internal cable routing for the double shift cables of a Rohloff hub. There was was also a bike from Bilenky Cycles with black tubes and elaborate bright yellow hand cut lugs. Then there were the titanium frames from Firefly Cycles, with graphics done in the bare titanium only in the difference between matte and polished surfaces. And there was a local bike shop that had a 1972 Raleigh International frame (and if you know me at all, you know that I have a real soft spot for old Raleighs) that they had painted with a woodgrain finish.  Wish I’d taken photos of those, and other stuff too!

And of course, many many thanks to my devoted better half, who helped out at the booth and helped me schlep all the stuff down.IMG_0024


While we were in Providence, we also spent Saturday with Dill Pickle set up in the Builders’ Ball tent at the Providence Cyclocross Fest. The weather actually turned out pretty nice. The cross racing was fun to watch, and there was a pretty big expo going on too. I met some folks who have designed a product called Buca Boot, which is an ingenious lockable trunk for the back of a bike. They’ve got a kickstarter campaign going to fund it, so check it out.

I also met Linda Keough, who has five kids who all race bikes. They go through lots of tires, so she recycles them into handles and straps for bags, and decorates them with bike parts too.

In the evening we went to Providence’s WaterFire festival, where they light a row of wood fires all down the river and keep feeding them from boats, and finally on Sunday morning we packed it all back onto the bikes and took the train back home.



Share Button

One thought on “Back from the New England Builders’ Ball

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *