Oregon Manifest is setting up in camp at PNCA the weekend of September 23rd. This event, which last took place in 2009, is nationwide design/build challenge that asks bike builders to create the best possible "modern utility bike."
Now, I'm not a big fan of expensive products that make biking seems like an elitist clique. And while the bikes featured in Oregon Manifest are custom-made bikes with pricetags of several thousand dollars, unlike made-in-China cycling jeans, they are real pieces of art. Bike building is a craft with strong Oregon roots—the nation's only bike-building schools are here in Ashland and Portland, and many of the bike builders competing in Oregon Manifest are based in Portland. I did a profile of a couple local bike builders during the 2009 Oregon Manifest and came to appreciate how good bike builders combine serious physical work with artistic skill and innovation.
ANYWAY, Manifest puts this craft on display in a cool way, making builders ride their own bikes in a lengthy race which, last time around, resulted in only a little blood. Then you can view the bikes over at PNCA for the weekend and, finally, the best-designed cycles move over to the Craft Museum for a month-long show. Sounds great, looks slick. It's still a month away, but I'm psyched.
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