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by James Huang
March 4, 2020
Photography by James Huang
The rapidly evolving COVID-19 coronavirus global outbreak has claimed yet another bicycle industry event, with the announcement today that the annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) will be postponed. Originally planned for March 20-22, the show will now be held August 21-23, still in the original location at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.
“Based on current news reports and travel restrictions, and in talking to many NAHBS exhibitors, media, and partners over the past week, I’ve made the difficult decision to postpone NAHBS and reschedule this year’s show,” said show director Don Walker via press release. “As a global show that attracts people from all parts of the world, and in evaluating the current variables and public health risks, I feel this is in everyone’s best interest.”
Currently, NAHBS is the largest show of its kind in the world, with this year’s event boasting more than a hundred custom-focused exhibitors hailing from around the world. Unfortunately, that’s also what likely sealed the show’s fate given that that sort of international gathering is exactly the sort of scenario that can accelerate the spread of a community-transmitted infectious agent like COVID-19. Moreover, a number of exhibitors hail from areas that are currently subject to government-mandated travel restrictions, such as Italy.
All of the exhibitors that were scheduled to attend the March show will be provided with booth space for the new August dates, and those that aren’t able to attend will be handled on a case by case basis.
The Sea Otter Classic, held annually each April in Monterey, California, has evolved to become one of the most important stops on the international bicycle trade show calendar, with approximately 10,000 athletes competing over the four-day event and thousands more attending the outdoor product expo. But like NAHBS, such mass gatherings of people from disparate areas are generally to be avoided during international infectious outbreaks, and the organizers have just announced that they are currently deciding on a plan moving forward.
“We are carefully monitoring the coronavirus situation,” said Sea Otter Classic president Frank Yohannan via press release. “We’ve been in discussions with various agencies to determine the best course of action regarding the 2020 Sea Otter Classic. Your health and welfare is our primary concern. We will make a final decision on our position within a couple of days. As you can imagine there are many consequences to consider and we appreciate your patience.”
Interesting times, indeed.