This morning, 34 teams from around the country rolled their custom-built bikes into the main hall of Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) for the official start of Oregon Manifest and... holy promised land of designer bike porn! The bikes are fabulous.
The last time Portland held the national bikes-as-transportation design competition, the results were mostly straight-forward (albeit gorgeous) city bikes. This year, the builders have really taken the innovation up a notch. Or, like, six notches. On what notch does "sidecar for dog named Raz" reside?
The big difference this year is the inclusion of student teams, including designers from University of Oregon, the Art Institute, and a team of sixth and seventh graders from a Newark charter school who teamed up with bike builder Folk Engineering. Their bike includes a wheel-powered USB cell phone charger, explains seventh grader Abdul Nafae Syed.
"Once this spins, it creates kinetic energy," said the 11-year-old Syed, pointing to the generator that rubs along the back wheel's rim. "There's a switch so that you can either power the light every time you pedal, or plug in your cell phone."
"How did you get into bike building?" I asked the Smartest Kid in AmericaTM.
"I want to be an architect and it's basically architecture featured for practical use by humans. And it's eco-friendly," said Syed.
Watch out, world. Check out the bikes tonight at the Oregon Manifest opening night party from 7-10pm. Tomorrow, the builders have to ride the bikes on a secret 50-mile course. I'll be there, too, and if I don't die along the way, I'll blog the whole thing here so click back to Blogtown tomorrow. I may or may not die. I don't own bike shorts and I never ride more than, oh, 10 miles a day, so this'll be a bit absurd.
H'okay: Onto the dozens of photos of all the other beautiful bikes! We've got cargo bikes, longtails, a pizza bike, sweet racks, a sidecar for art students! They're all below the cut.
UPDATE: I didn't even realize that beautiful Faraday is an e-bike! That's wild. Here's what BikePortland says about it.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!