Ahearnes Mud and Sand (and whiskey) bike
  • Ahearne's "Mud and Sand" (and whiskey) bike
Joseph Ahearne’s bike dangled precariously from the Ace Hotel ceiling on thin wires, attracting a crowd of admirers who examined its custom rubber fenders, absurdly massive tires, and three built-in whiskey flasks.

“It’s a sand and mud bike,” said Ahearne, standing by nonchalantly while explaining his plans to tour Oregon’s coastline on the bike he built with his own two hands. Ahearne and a dozen other Portland builders showed off their newest handbuilt creations at the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel on Friday, before packing up and heading south for annual North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) in Sacramento.

Custom bike building is a rather narrow niche, but at last count, Portland is home to just over 30 builders. The day-to-day of the job is not glamorous at all, with builders spending long hours toiling over meticulously frames and come out of the woodwork for events like Friday’s NAHBS sneak peak, Show Me Yours, which was hosted by Rapha, West End Bikes, and Hopworks Beer.

NAHBS is an important chance for builders from all over the country to get together and show off their creations in one place and Oregon companies make up just over 10 percent of all the exhibitors. At Friday's sneak peak, builder Ira Ryan debuted a bike he and rack-builder Trucker made for local restaurant Ned Ludd—its trailer and racks built for hauling tasty foods. You can view a bunch of photos here or in a slideshow below the cut!