Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 26th, 2012 at 12:41 pm
One of the most anticipated new bikes in years, the Faraday Porteur, is headed to Portland this weekend. The bike, which was discovered here on BikePortland when it debuted at the Oregon Manifest Design Challenge competition back in September, boasts a gorgeous design, detachable front rack, hub-powered lights, and a smartly integrated battery for electric assist.
Earlier this month the man behind the bike, Portland native and MIT grad Adam Vollmer announced he planned to mass-produce the bike. Vollmer went to Kickstarter in hopes of raising the $100,000 needed to get the production started. The project quickly reached that goal and now Vollmer and his crew have left the San Francisco Bay Area where the company was founded and are headed up to Portland.
I caught up with Vollmer via email to learn more about his Portland roots, the rise of Faraday, e-bike evangelism, and more...
"My Portland roots have a huge part in making this new company a dream of mine. I was fortunate to grow up in a city where biking is a big and viable part of the transportation mix, and I've always been excited to try to find ways to spread that elsewhere. Plus, I spent my summers working at the Bike Gallery, volunteered with the BTA, rode Cycle Oregon with my dad...Portland put biking in my blood."
Oregon Manifest Design Challenge ride.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
"I'm blown away by the response to Faraday on Kickstarter. Honestly, it's terrifying putting something that you've worked on so hard for so long out on such a big stage - you're immediately under the microscope. My team and I had to BELIEVE in this brand new design...but that was no guarantee that everyone else would. But the enthusiasm for the bike - whether it's from the bike community, the design community, or anywhere else, has been overwhelming. I'm so grateful to all of our backers - especially those who bought one of our first production bikes - for their support. I was unprepared for just how emotional an experience the Kickstarter campaign would be."
"We decided to make Faraday in the US for a number of reasons. One, we plan to hold Faraday to the highest standard of quality, and the best way for us to do that is to work with a domestic framebuilder who understands our needs and is willing to work closely with us to get the best result possible. Two, we're a little bit idealistic. I see exciting things on the horizon for manufacturing in the US, and I want to be on the leading edge of that curve, not catching up."
"I see myself as a bike evangelist, and I'm a supporter of anything that gets people out spinning their pedals and having fun - from new bike lanes to new bike products. In the case of e-bikes, I think there's huge potential to get people riding more, but there need to be products that are easier to fall in love with. With Faraday we're trying to change that, and I hope more bike makers will follow. So...I guess maybe I am a bit of an e-bike evangelist."
"Lots of hard work! Now that we've reached our initial Kickstarter goal, we're reaching for our stretch goal of adding bluetooth to the bike and developing an app - we're really excited about that. Beyond that, I'm really looking forward to getting down to the business of production and building bikes!"
You can test ride and see the Faraday Porteur in Portland this weekend. Saturday 10-2 at Portland Farmers Market (near the North side of the market) Sunday at Clever Cycles (9th and Hawthorne) from Noon - 5.