There has been plenty of anticipation, coverage, and reflection about the recent 2009 Oregon Manifest on the Internet. Clearly, this is a great event for the Northwest, for bicycles, builders, riders, and for cycling culture.
I’d like to take a few brief glances back at some of the bikes built for the Constructor’s Design Challenge for this year. Framebuilders were charged with creating the ultimate transportation bike: “an innovative, modern transportation bike in this technical trial of engineering dexterity and fabrication mettle.” The builders (or their designees) then “raced” the bikes on a mixed surface ride with some cargo involved.
Its clear that some of the ideas expressed by the builders will be appropriated by the big industry players. We’re already seeing Trek, Specialized, and Raleigh slap nice powder coats on their newly-reconceptualized city bikes, inspired by so many handmade and custom shows.
But more importantly, these bicycles represent attempts to build the ideal transportation bicycle. They are beautifully crafted with clever details, so that movement through space can be afforded the aesthetic grace that it deserves. They are also very utilitarian, with custom racks, locking systems, mudguards, and comfortable riding positions. They seem to be a mix between the classic long-distance randonneuring bike, built for comfort, and the city bike, built for comfort and portage. For most of us, these designs will inspire how we might reconfigure our vintage ride, build up a frame, or how we might think about a custom bike down the line.
For now, feel free to linger over these: