Peacock Groove wins NAHBS Best in Show, Theme Bike awards
Minnesota framebuilder Erik Noren has now taken three major awards with his Purple Rain bicycle.
Nobody at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show seemed more surprised at the culmination of the 2017 edition than Minneapolis framebuilder Erik Noren when he was called over the public address to the stage for the Best in Show award, accorded to him for his Prince tribute bike, Purple Rain.
Noren had just accepted the Best Theme Bike award and, "I was on my way to the photo studio, and somebody said 'hey go to the stage for your award,' I told him I'd just been there, but he said 'no dude, you just won Best in Show,' and I was 'No way! Holy shit!'" he said.
This is the third award of the season for Noren's Peacock Groove brand - all with Purple Rain. His, er, purple patch began last November at the Philly Bike Expo, where the bike won the People's Choice award.
During the presentation ceremony, Patrick Brady, the chief judge, declared the bike a clear winner in the Best in Show category, which is thought to be an unprecedented distinction at NAHBS. As for the Best Theme Bike category, Brady said - only half jokingly - after seeing this bike there was no longer any point in having this award, and show founder Don Walker announced from the awards stage that the category would be discontinued forthwith, effectively giving Peacock Groove eternal winner status.
Noren a veteran of NAHBS dating back to the 2006 show, is known for his artistic flair and is regarded as one of the more colourful personalities in the artisan bike community. At the 2009 edition of NAHBS, in Indianapolis, Noren's submission to the show's ArtBike event proved controversial among certain commentators. In 2014 Noren won the President's Choice award when the show visited Charlotte, NC. In 2016 he was a finalist for the Rare Craft Fellowship award, a nationwide general artisanship contest.
Purple Rain indeed.
Photos courtesy Philly Bike Expo and Brad Quartuccio