That’s because the small Oakland, CA-based builder received the People’s Choice Award at this weekend’s show held in Louisville.
NAHBS has been visiting different venues across the US annually since the first show in Houston in 2005. More than 7,000 people annually attend the shows that can draw more than 150 bike builders. This year, president and founder Scott Walker brought the show back to near his hometown of Buckner.
While the whole point of the show is to make handbuilt bicycle makers accessible to a wide audience, the awards are quite a bonus.
Mars Cycles is operated by Casey Sussman, who learned his craft at The Bicycle Academy in Frome, England. NAHBS says he’s the only US bike builder to attend that school.
Sussman builds steel racing bikes with large tubes that are hand mitered and filed. NAHBS says there are only 26 Mars bike in existence, right now.
Other winners include:
Best New Builder: Love Baum — Owned by Chad Lovings and Bryce Baumann who met while studying bike under Koichi Yamaguchi. They make their steel frame bicycles in Denver.
President’s Choice: Ron Sutphin — President and faculty member of United Bicycle Institute, which has taught scores of future handbuilt bicycle makers their craft at campuses in Ashland and Portland, Ore. Ron has been a faculty member since UBI opened in 1981. Proof that he knows his stuff — he received the president’s choice award.
Best in Show: Groovy Cycleworks — Rody Walter at the Wooster, Ohio firm specializes in “truly unique, made to order projects.” The finished product “is a culmination of physiology, metallurgy, and personality all rolled into one.”
On Saturday, NAHBS issued awards to bike makers in smaller categories. Congratulations to all the winners, and may you enjoy being your own boss:
Best Cyclocross bike: No. 22 Bicycle Co.
Best Road bike: Repete
Best Tandem: Black Sheep
Best City bike: Brodie
Best Experimental bike: Sycip
Best Artisan: Cykelmageren
Best Lugs: DiNucci
Best Carbon Lay-up: Alchemy