Tuesday, December 3, 2013

BikeCraft 2013

Spending fifteen minutes every morning for several months adds up!  That's how I was able to produce a nice tall stack of home-made buddy flaps, each with a reflective accent.  I also "produced" a giant baggie full of painted valve covers and over a dozen Bum-Ease pillows.

When I attended BikeCraft last year, I never dreamed I'd have my very own booth this year.  BikeCraft is a weekend-long show that happens in Portland every December and features local artisans (and craftisans!) and their wares.  Products range from very finished-looking panniers created by local businesses to little crafty bits created by little crafty folk like me. 

I saw bike jewelry, bike tire belts, bike chain belt buckles, glass art with images of bikes screen-printed in, caps, caps and more caps (all beautiful), kinetic art, books and zines - you name it!  I was a bit nervous the first morning.  After all, although I have made stuff for myself (or my bikes) over the years, I'd never set up a booth at a show like this.

The ride over was precarious with a gigantic messenger bag full of stuff on my back.  But, I made it to the venue, Velocult, by 10:30am and found my booth space.  It was perfect!  Not too near the door, since I have ice-blood.  Right around the corner from the bathroom, as my belief in constant hydration has its price.  My next step was to find the table I rented.  Then, table decor time!  I tossed a maroon and pink Christmasy tablecloth (made by my mother) onto the table, then displayed my wares.
Set up was completed just in time. I was especially happy with the signs, which were a craft event of their own, created with a young friend of mine. The crowd flow felt constant, and just right. I didn't have a single boring moment. Soon, it was time for my young friend and her mother to fill in for me, so I could head out to Alley Cross. Alley Cross is a combination of alley cat racing - my favorite type, and cyclocross - my newest.

There were around 30 racers in attendance and we enjoyed a Le Mans start. That means we laid our bikes down and walked a good clip away to wait for the starting whistle. Then everyone scrambled to get on their bikes. What better time for a cyclocross style mount! We raced over to a park, which was set up just like a genuine CX race, complete with flags, run-ups and even barriers. An organizer announced the bell lap to each racer, then we scooted back to the start.

There by the registration table, was a huge mound of winter clothing earmarked for a local shelter. This was the race registration fee. And next to that, a big pile of prizes, including some donated by my own company.  Prizes ran three deep (that means first, second & third place) for four categories (juniors, women, men, last place).

One quick beer, a shouted announcement about the show, and I rode back to my booth. My sweat dried soon enough and I proudly kept my number pinned on for the remainder of the day.  I had just broken even before leaving for the race, so everything from here on out was profit.  I decided to spend all of my profit, every last cent, on items from other booths.  Everything there was beautifully made, useful, novel, and supported another small artisan. Day two was slower, but I was still having fun.  I lost a few games of chess while (wo-)manning my booth, enjoyed a beer, and perfected my sales pitch. 

Here's my spiel. Contact me at bicyclekitty@gmail.com if you're interested in purchasing anything.
  • Buddy Flaps: "Sure, your fender keeps you and your butt dry, but what about your friend behind you?  Buddy flaps are lightweight and stiff, add visibility to your ride, and go on with a single zip tie. $6 each, $10 per pair.
  • Pillows:Vinyl on one side and cotton on the other; a must-have accessory for Pedalpalooza rides and loaded touring. They guarantee a warm, dry place to sit wherever you go. $15 each.
  • Embellished Valve Caps: can be used for more than covering your tube valves. One small customer taught me that they can also come in handy as "fairy cups". $1.00 per pair.

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