5 TEAMS. 5 CITIES. THE ULTIMATE URBAN UTILITY BIKE.
Announcing Oregon Manifest 14: The Bike Design Project. In our boldest configuration yet, we've partnered five high-level design firms with American bicycle craftsmen in collaborative teams - one in each of five cycling-centric cities - all competing to create the next urban bike. Working together from ideation through production, these teams are fiercely determined to develop their vision of the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike.
Once the five bike designs are revealed to the public on July 25 at a celebration event in each city, it will be YOU, our online audience, who chooses the winning bike!
We don't stop there. For the first time, the winning bike will move forward into production through our manufacturing partner, Fuji BIkes. The Oregon Manifest bike will be available and ready to ride in the city!
Learn more and meet our teams at oregonmanifest.com.
In other words, what they've done here is picked five "cool" cities and invited five "cool" bikey/designy cliques in each one to come up with a "cool" bike for riding to "cool" places within those cities in a great big Levi's marketing circle jerk.
As an aging parent who is currently obsessing over male osteoporosis, I can no longer distinguish among "cool" people or neighborhoods, and they all sort of ooze together in an indistinguishable, bearded mass. For example, here's the San Francisco team:
Or maybe it's the Portland team. I don't know. Or is it the New York team?
No, this is the New York team...or is it?
And if it is, who the hell are these people?
Honestly, the only team I could identify right off the bat was the Seattle team:
As for the quest to design the "Ultimate Urban Utility Bike," they're all wasting their time, because I built that a few weeks ago in my basement. It's called the "Son of Scat," and it is the culmination of a lifetime of cycling experience, from the BMX racing, to bike couriering, to the lofty reaches of mid-category Fred-dom:
In fact, the only one of their arbitrary criteria it doesn't fit is that it doesn't have a "Free-standing Under Load System," but those are for "woosies." (Just kidding, I badly need a center stand for my Big Dummy.)
Let's run through their cutesy little checklist and see how Son of Scat measures up:
Without exception, all entry bikes must possess the following useful features:
Anti-Theft System: System should prove to be secure and easy to use.
Yeah, I got that. It's called a U-lock (or three) and some "street smartz" (in graffiti font). Also, look at how the fucked-up saddle nobody would want anyway is chained to the frame with an actual bicycle chain through an old inner tube. Suck on that, "woosies."
Lighting System: System should aid rider vision and provide high visibility on the road.
Uh-huh, got that too. Thanks to Knog, I got more lumens than the lighting district. (Assuming the old lighting district hasn't been totally replaced by luxury condos, which it probably has.) By the way, if you need bike lights to see where you're going, you don't live in a real city, so in actuality any bike with such a "system" should be disqualified.
Load-Carrying System: Entries should be able to carry a variety of loads through a variety
of conditions. System should accommodate a typical user load, such as a bag of groceries, commuter or gym bag, etc.
Oh, my bike can take my load. I got a rack, I got bags, I got handlebars, and if there's really a lot of shit to carry, I've got a dental plan, because I'll carry a bag of takeout in my teeth like a golden retriever with a dead duck if I have to. I don't have a "gym bag" though, because gym bags are for "woosies." This is how I work out:*
*[Disclaimer: that is not how I work out.]
I bet John Joseph doesn't worry about male osteoporosis.
Free-standing Under Load System: Bike must free-stand under a variety of loads on a variety of surfaces.
Heh, heh. The bike has to stand up while taking a "variety of loads." [Insert your bukkake reference here.]
Fender System: Fender system must keep bike and rider clean.
I have a fender system. It's called "fenders." Amazing.
Road-tested: Bike should be road-ready and tested. The team-produced video should
include brief footage of the bike in motion on the road (including hills), carrying a load and in use during typical real-world scenarios.
Road-tested? I got your road-tested. That bike's been everywhere. It's been locked to every pole in New York. In a prior incarnation, it's even been raced at the SSCXWC in Portland. Lou Reed once borrowed it for four weeks. (That's a lie.) You think Fuji Bikes can market an "urban utility bike" with that kind of street cred? Because I don't--though this one came close:
It folds and it's a "collabo" with cigarettes. Actually, I bet if one of those teams submitted exactly that bike they'd walk away with the grand prize.
The point is, true city bikes aren't contrived by designsters. They're born of the parts bin and refined on the commute. Odds are the winning Oregon Manifest bike will be called The Gentrification Machine. It will have some sort of integrated lock you'd never want, custom racks that allow the rider to use the word "porteur" a lot, a fancy paint job, and a smartphone holder so you can run that app that alerts you when a landlord finally succeeds in harassing a rent-controlled tenant out of an apartment:
Then all you have to do is find a bike rack that's compatible with your integrated lock, park your "porteur," and fork over that $3,500 security deposit.
Speaking of gentrification, remember how David Byrne (who does not own a car) threatened to move out of New York City because the latest wave of rich people aren't cool enough? Well, now he's going to blow up the Internet with radioactive paintballs and start a new one:
So… imagine that a hypothetical group of disillusioned citizens obtains access to the same nodes – let's say it's an inside job by some building employees – but instead of tapping the nodes, as the NSA did, they break them. And to avoid any possibility of repair, they detonate a small timed radioactive paintball after they leave. No one gets hurt, but the radioactive splatter creates a no-go zone. As a result, no one can fix the fiber optics or even get near them for, let's say, 100 years. The city outside, and even the rest of the building, might remain safe, but don't go near that room on the 20th floor!
Hey, I'm just as creeped out by all this NSA spying as anybody, but David Byrne has more reason to be upset than most, since they carefully monitored him while he put together his most recent musical project:
Sorry, Dave, I had to do it:
("Not fucking funny.")
I'm oddly fascinated with David Byrne since he's sort of the embodiment of "right message, wrong messenger." He doesn't own a car, but he can hire one whenever he wants. He thinks Manhattan sucks now, but he can sell his loft for a mint whenever he wants and move anyplace in the world. He's freaked out about being watched on the Internet, yet he has a blog and a strong online presence, which he totally doesn't need because his success predates all of that in the first place.
But yes, he makes important points--about cars, gentrification, and spying--though I'd be afraid to use David Byrne's new Surveillance-Free Internet, since it would probably be taken over by pedophiles in short order:
("Again, not fucking funny.")
Sex offenders are why we can't have nice things.
Lastly, recently somebody Tweeted this at me:
@bikesnobnyc I feel I need to bring this http://t.co/VcgnboJtAG to your attention
— Giles Dring (@gilesdring) March 23, 2014