Tuesday, March 25, 2014

god bless bikesnob nyc

There is so much that could be said about the 2014 edition of Oregon Manifest, the bicycle design challenge. The new rules and format have rendered it very little "Oregon" and a whole lotta MAN-fest (check out who's on the design teams).

But really, BikeSnobNYC said nearly everything that could be said about OM 2014 in just the opening lines of his blog homage to the event.  Read it here -- 

Frankly, theere is a lot to be disappointed by in the new version of this event. But there is also a lot to learn about the real state of the bicycle industry as well. As someone observed over at BikePortland, the fact that Fuji will manufacture a short run of the winning design says a lot about what the bicycle industry thinks of anyone who can't afford more than a couple hundred bucks for a bicycle: not much. I fully expect the Fuji-manufactured design to cost at least a couple of thousand bucks -- as if the norm is now. that anyone [of worth and consideration in the free marketplace, at any rate] ought to be able to spring for that without batting an eye.

I'm interested in helping brainstorm a totally alternative, even guerrilla, sort of event -- where regular citizens show off their useful hacks to solve everyday cycling challenges (such as sewing toeclip covers to keep feet drier in the rain, for example; or sewing little ear triangles to fit in the straps of one's helmet and keep ears warmer in cold weather). A friend wants to have an event that showcases all the local builders who got left out of the new format. I met with him this morning over coffee to discuss our ideas. I am not sure they would go together, at least not without a whole lot of planning and organization. But I was willing to talk.

In the end, I must admit that I DO sort of want to ignore and/or thumb my nose at what OM -- and too much of the bicycle industry -- have become. There is lots of posturing about how the independent designer or builder is held in high esteem, but in the end bike companies can't make huge profits unless they sell something in the tens of thousands of units.

It may be that my friend and I hold separate events, with mine being the. easiest, lowest-to-the-ground sort of thing possible. I have a lot on my plate in my new line of work and don't even know if I will have the wherewithal to organize something at all. But it's worth kicking around, especially if there are others who want to show off their problem solving skills and crafts in ways that don't rely upon the behemoth bicycle industry so much.

Anyone who wants to steal this idea, feel free to do so with my blessing.

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