Oregon Manifest: The Future of City Bikes

Student Bike

by Anne Macquarie

I ride an eighteen-year-old black Trek road bike everywhere. It’s my commute bike, errand bike, road bike. It’s comfortable and I like it. I’m attached to it. But now, I’ve seen the future and my old bike might not be in it.
When I was up in Portland last week I stopped by the Museum of Contemporary Craft and saw some really nice custom bikes – prototypes for what might become the city bikes of the future, designed and built by some of the country’s finest bike crafters, including Ziba Design, Signal Cycles, Ideo, Rock Lobster Cycles, Geekhouse, Quixote Cycles, and more. The occasion was a competition to “design and build the ultimate modern utility bike”.
Here are some pictures:

This little green bike was designed and built by students at the university of Oregon. Judges called it fresh, creative, and the ideal campus bike

I loved this bike, second place prize winner designed and built by  Rob Tsunehiro of Tsunehiro Cyles and Silas Beebe of ID+. Its slightly retro look disguises some cool features, like a headlight attached to the stem right below the handlebars that casts light in a 360 degree arc, paniers that in some magical way become huge when you open them up, and  – this is my favorite – the frame paint is retroreflective, so the whole bike glows at night. Imagine seeing that if you’re driving down the road at night (It probably wouldn’t be a good transportation choice for a cat burgler though.)

There were lots more. The winning bikes will be at the Museum of Contemporary Craft until the end of October. Here’s the museum’s website: http://museumofcontemporarycraft.org/

For pictures of the bikes and their makers, go here: http://oregonmanifest.com/challenge/

These bikes make me happy. I hope some of them go into commercial production – Mr Tsunehiro and Mr Beebe, you hear me? – before I’m too old to ride my bike anymore.

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