It’s spread around the internet like wildfire via Mashable and the usual cycling forums, but the rumor of the cheap cardboard bicycle is true. With a target MSRP of $20usd it could be a serious global game changer in such diverse environments as global inner cities as well as rural African communities. The production line is said to be three different bicycle designs and a wheelchair – another traditionally expensive mobility tool with life changing implications.
From a bike geek’s perspective, the story of the bike’s creator is a charming peek into the process and possibilities of making things. It’s a well spent six minutes.
Particularly interesting are their ideas on changing manufacturing from low-cost countries where human exploitation is always an issue to local manufacturing that could be subsidized by governments to employ local populations, for profit retailers could afford to sell the bikes for as low as $20 and that the total cost of the finished products would be cheap enough for governments, NGO’s and other organizations to distribute them to communities in need for free. Their profit model is based on computer software: give it away for free and make money on advertising.
It’s an wonderful idea, that’s 6 months away from being launched in Israel and a year away from launching internationally. As someone who works for a bike shop, I’m particularly curious to see the three models they’ve developed that they claim do not need to be adjusted or sized in order to be useful. That and how the bottom bracket and hubs work!
I’d love it if next Christmas I could literally give all of my friends & family (there is at least a dozen) who do not yet own bikes a cardboard starter bike. And some stickers for street cred.
Since the United States Anti-Doping Agency went off on it’s own and decided to strip Lance Armstrong of his career titles having found him guilty of doping, there’s been a string of slight protests, but mostly just confusion. What will happen? Will the UCI protest? Will a motion by the California Senate take out the USADA? Will anyone care?
What about all the riders who are not Lance Armstrong? Michael Barry’s article in the NYT was a compelling look back at how the international professional cycling culture is slowly becoming clean (dopers suck) but failing to ultimately value the safety and physical well being of racers in other ways.
Today, it would seem that the house of cards have officially fallen with all the major sponsors from NIKE, TREK and Oakley cutting their ties, Sponsors wanting their money back and Armstrong announcing that he has stepped down as chairman of his LIVESTRONG charity. The best general read is from today’s New York Times.
At last refresh there were 970 comments on a story less than 24 hours old. In contention is everything from the continued authority of the UCI, USADA, Lance and professional cycling itself. Many people are coming to support people like Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, the two primary whistle blowers/pariahs to come out in the last few years.
I’ve always appreciated the Brooks aesthetic and have enjoyed seeing their range expand from new shoulder bags to apparel and accessories. This video is a bit long but has an interesting way of showing the manufacturing process and a recent project asking art students to come up with new products in the original spirit of Brooks, but with modern materials and processes.
Originally spotted on Urban Cyclist Worldwide
I’ve been organizing Ladies Bike Brunches in NYC and was excited to make it happen in L.A. until… life happened. Today I was super happy to discover that Siobhan of Braking the Limits had put it together! I’m super inspired by the number of amazing DIY bike ladies actively organizing their communities here and the Bike Brunch should be a fantastic way to meet like minded women making positive change happen all over #BikeLA. Check it out and join us for an amazing first brunch:
It’s finally time to bring this amazingly fun monthly event to Los Angeles!
Cities from San Francisco to Nashville host a brunch for ladeez of all kinds to gather and discuss anything bike (or not!) related with each other, away from a computer screen and with delicious food.
Our very first LA Bike Brunch for women/trans/femme (only) will be held on Saturday, October 20th. We’ll bump it up to 10:00am to avoid the brunch-time rush. We’ll meet at Home Restaurant Silver Lake, 2500 Riverside Drive at Fletcher Drive. Please RSVP in the comments or by email at brakingthelimits//at\\gmail(dot)com. If we get a large enough group, I can call ahead and make a reservation.
LA is a vast expanse of a megalopolis, so I will plan for future brunches to be in neighborhoods all over the city from east to west, but venturing out to a new ‘hood is always an exciting adventure so feel free to combine whatever modes of transport to join in.
Editor’s note: Since movng to Los Angeles a lot of people from other parts of the world have gasped in horror – asking how someone who loves riding a bike for transportation and fun can live happily in LA. The answer is pretty easy: LA would be a bike paradise if the giant lanes of cars were restructured for bikes and public transportation. Plus, as crazy as that sounds, it’s not impossible. Why? Because people are awesome. Check this out!
Bike route image via Swrve
Governor Jerry Brown’s shocking last-minute veto of the “Give Me 3″ legislation that mandated a minimum of three feet of passing space between motorists and bicyclists has ground the gears of quite a few cyclists, including one particular Angeleno—Matt Rolletta, co-owner of Swrve cycling apparel in Los Angeles.
Rolletta penned a letter to Brown last Friday, challenging him to a 19-mile ride across Los Angeles, from Swrve headquarters in Glassell Park to the Santa Monica shoreline. Reminding Brown that he’s “vetoed [himself] into a hole at least 100,000 votes deep” and will need to do some serious climbing should he choose to run again in 2014, Rolletta adds, “While I respect your bravado for pulling down a prime Linda Ronstadt, I don’t think you’re man enough to handle a taste of what it feels like to get #JerryBrowned.”
Brown would pedal “though a variety of of economically and ethnically diverse neighborhoods while basking in some the ‘best’ bicycle infrastructure Los Angeles has to offer” during the ride, as Rolletta notes in his letter, which you can read in full here.
As of today, Brown has yet to accept or reject Rolletta’s challenge. Here’s to hoping the good governor temporarily hops off his post in Sacramento and onto a bike here in Los Angeles.
written by Lauren Llyod for LAist
A Poster Show for Bike People
ARTCRANK LAX will feature hand-made, bike-inspired posters created by Los Angeles artists. Limited edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each.
UPDATE: Los Angeles, the wait is over. ARTCRANK is taking the City of Angels by storm on Saturday, December 8. And we’re doing it at the newly-minted Best Bike Shop in L.A. — Orange 20 Bikes. We’ll be packing the house with bike-inspired poster created by local artists and more fun than would be allowable by law anywhere else in the world.
First things first: We’re on the prowl for a crack team of poster artists to sling bicycle-inspired ink. If you’re a bike-lovin’ artist or designer who works in screen printing, letterpress, stencils or other handmade techniques, we want to hear from you.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
All ARTCRANK show feature posters created by artists and designers who live and work in the city that hosts the show. Our final roster will feature artists from the Los Angeles area, each of whom will produce a limited edition bike-inspired poster that we’ll display and sell at our event.
To be considered for the show, send three digital samples of previous work (URLs, JPGs, PDFs, etc.) to us via email. Please DO NOT send preliminary poster concepts or designs. We’ll provide more details to all artists who submit work samples.
The Call for Entries will close on Saturday, October 20, 2012.
Other things to look forward to: Craft beer by Widmer Brothers Brewing in ARTCRANK pint glasses. Bonus bike parking and bite-sized snacks from Clif Bar. And a stunning paper bike sculpture created by L.A.’s own Nona Varnado out of the best paper in the world — Neenah Paper.
If you’re new to this whole ARTCRANK thing, spend some time wandering our site to see what we’ve done in Austin, Denver, London, Minneapolis, Portland, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Or jump over to our Flickr and Vimeo pages for even more ocular enjoyment.
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This last Sunday was cicLAvia: a giant open streets initiative where the streets are closed off to motor vehicles and people can ride bikes places they might never before venture, re-discovering their city. As a former New Yorker, I was a little unimpressed at the hype over something so simple: I’m familiar with Summer Streets and similar open streets projects. But the beauty of it really is local: LA is a magical city in it’s own right with an incredible variety of people, things to see or delicious things to eat along the way. It’s also a lot more family friendly and I was impressed at the number of kids and families that were out, many commenting that this is the only time they’d feel safe enough to explore by bike.
I got to experience cicLAvia from the other side: as a vendor, working for Orange 20 Bikes. We had already planned to participate completely car free: our mechanic Mauricio would ride the Surly Big Dummy cargo bike his tools and stand over to our booth at Mariachi Plaza, Fabian would ride a SOMA demo bike with a Burley and I’d haul a small mountain of oranges on the Surly Steam Roller with another Burley Trailer loaded with a giant plastic bucket and bungies. We later made a second trip with a Jamis Coda and another trailer, plus a few super large Ortlieb messenger backpacks, also filled to the brim with oranges. Together we hauled 750+ lbs. of valencia and clementine oranges to give away to people riding and walking by.
Though getting there was definitely half the fun, it was amazing to see the bikes people were riding (people and bike watching was super fun!) cicLAvia is also pretty amazing because it gets people who might not own or ride a bike to find a way – anyway – to get a bike for at least a day. And it’s a great opportunity to show people what’s possible and challenge some ideas about what a bike can do. The idea behind all the demo bikes was to put together attractive, fun to ride and affordable city bikes. Then add affordable cargo hauling capabilities using the various burley trailers carried at Orange 20. It’s not only possible, it’s fun!
Ritte is one of those cool stories that makes you wish you had thought of it first:
(from Wired 1/30/12)
SANTA MONICA, California — Spencer Canon didn’t set out to start a bicycle company. He just wanted a kit that didn’t suck.
He found the jerseys and shorts road riders wear boring. Uninspired. So he designed his own, black with light blue and red and yellow stripes. The old-school Belgian vibe looked great, but it needed something.
It needed a story.
Canon found one in the life of Henri “Ritte” Van Lerberghe, who once won Belgium’s biggest race on a borrowed bicycle after downing a few pints at the pub. His improbable career underscored everything Canon thinks cycling should be: fun, free and a bit irreverent. He and his friends started wearing the kit on rides.
That’s when things got weird.
“We were riding as a fake Belgian team that doesn’t exist, but the kit looked so cool we actually got sponsors,” Canon said, laughing at the recollection. “It took a few months, but our fake team and our fake brand just exploded. I realized I could take a fake team and make it real.”
Ritte Van Vlaanderen Bicycles was born.
So it seems promising that their ladies team should also have a pretty glorious image to portray, as they look for sponsors. To my great disappointment I was contacted by a friend who is also a member of the
team “squad” with the lookbook they’ve put out to promote themselves, women’s racing and … cars?
These are not images that make these women look strong, or beautiful or even capable. Which is a pity because they are all those things. I ran into a fellow in the Burbank airport who is a friend of the photographer who felt compelled to try to explain that there was a theme or some half assed “art direction” (by a dude from LA) that created the idea that these women would “break the mold” and “kick ass” by posing as if they were flinging molotov cocktails around downtown and stealing car while wearing their Ritte jerseys, which lucky sponsors could add their logo to.
Did someone just see the movie Drive and want to make an internet fan tribute? How did a women’s cycling team get hijacked by a car comercial? Why are the profiles shot as if the viewer was hiding in the “to be stolen and destroyed” car? Is that what they will do to us? How is that endorsing things like a fair and level playing ground? Also, they’re all wearing their colorful cycling jerseys so it implies that their not very bright about not getting caught.
Even if I wanted to be a sponsor, the street-light yellow/Black background obscures the written content; which is a good thing, because that sounds like the postulating of an over confident high school senior rather than evocative marketing copy.
and what’s with the overplayed “Keep Calm” meme? Isn’t Ritte inspired by Denmark, not Great Britain? Does this mean a European would get it or make fun of Americans for not being able to keep countries or themes straight? It seems to imply that this joyride of destruction is merely for kicks, they’re not exactly acting on a moral or political motivation. Not sure how that will help advance positive perceptions of women’s cycling.
And of course the big explosion picture. Should I mention their expressions are not their prettiest or most intimidating? Only one of them has a bicycle? To be fair, it seems that such a theme is an attempt to stay away from traditional ‘bimbo’ images of hyper sexualized female athletes, but it might just be misguided.
I think, as someone who also does art direction for lookbooks, I might have lofty standards when it comes to something that has so much potential to be a catalyst for good. A super strong women’s cycling team! Uniquely American, but with more style and room for experimentation than most racing teams. Perhaps this look book is just that: an experimental accident that can be learned from: just don’t fuck it up again, or you might be the Nascar Girls of cycling
Editor’s intro: I was sad to learn on Sunday that my “big brother blog” BikeBlogNYC run by my good friend Mike Green had been hacked along with several other wordpress sites being run on Dreamhost. Mike, via BikeBlogNYC has been a bullhorn for the NYC cycling community in all it’s forms; from activisim, renegade parties, riding, reporting and helping serve as a center point for social media networks forming to recover stolen bikes in NYC.
I like to reach out to the online biking community when my bikes get stolen so I thought I’d reach out when my blog got stolen.