Friday, February 08, 2008

North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

I was browsing some pics from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and came away with a few impressions I'd like to share here. You see, right now, in Portland, Oregon there's this show going on where many of the top frame-builders in the USA have gathered to show off what they can do. To me, it feels like a gathering to celebrate the craft of creating something with your bare hands, but it's more than that. I want to say that what they create is art, but I'm not sure that's what it is either.

Ask a guy in China working in a sweatshop making $5 a week what his bicycle is, and I'm sure he won't say it's a piece of art. Would he be riding his bike to work if he could afford a car? Hell no. But here, in Portland, are a bunch of guys who have taken what may be one of the most efficient modes of transportation ever invented by man, and raise it to the level of "art" by painstakingly and lovingly manufacturing beautiful bicycles, as if to honor it's intended use, simple necessary transportation. The fact that to purchase one of these bikes is an investment higher than 95% of the world's average annual income seems of little concern to these artisans in steel, titanium, and wood.

I don't see many purebred race bikes. They tend to focus more on the utility of the bike and the simple joy of riding. Racks, fenders. Comfortable seats? Yeah, what I see are a bunch of incredibly talented craftsmen who are lucky they live in a place and time that allows them to create such works of "art." Now that is cool.

I hope you enjoy the pics from the show. I sure did, even though I think some of those guys can tone down the grunge look. :p

Tonight's Training: 1 hour: 10 minutes on the indoor trainer + 25 minutes each way to work today on the bike. I'll go ahead and count that time, as I did work up a sweat.

Totals: 2 hour riding

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