The Classic - Cycle Oregon

Oregon-made bike exhibit debuts at Portland Airport

Posted by on April 3rd, 2008 at 3:28 pm

A passenger strolls by the new Handmade exhibit at the Portland Airport. (Slideshow below)
(Photos © J. Maus)

An exhibition of bicycles handmade in Oregon debuted at the Portland Airport today.

The exhibit — which I brought you the details of back in February — is slated to run for six months and airport officials say an estimated 3.3 million passengers will pass by the 40-foot, glass display case.

Oregon Handmade Bikes at Portland Airport-33.jpg
Oregon Handmade Bikes at Portland Airport-30.jpg
Oregon Handmade Bikes at Portland Airport-16.jpg

Since the exhibit is located beyond security gates, only ticketed passengers can view it. I joined a video crew today that was working on a project for the Portland Development Commission (a partner in the exhibit) to gain access and snap some photos (my slideshow is below).

I was full of Oregon pride as I walked up to the display. Passersby peered into the glass, studying the placards that described each of the ten bikes in the exhibit. One guy was so excited by what he saw, he chased down the rest of his group, and dragged them back to show them what he’d found (they were amazed at the 16.75 pound hardwood bike by Renovo).

The photo didn’t come out, but a nice statement about the exhibit was written in stickers on the glass. It said:

Combining engineering skills, precious metal craftsmanship, cutting edge design, and a passion for cycling, these Oregon bike builders create functional works of art that appeal to today’s rider.

The ten examples shown here represent only a few of the builders working in Oregon, but they share a common goal of providing one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted machines with a unique ride.

Each bike had it’s own placard that provided details on the builder, the type of bike, and interesting tidbits — like the material used, or the builder’s inspiration.

Oregon Handmade Bikes at Portland Airport-35.jpg

The ten bikes on display were built by: Cielo Cycles (Portland), Vendetta Cycles (Corvallis), Keith Anderson Cycles (Grants Pass), Stites Design (Portland), Jeff Jones Custom Bicycles (Medford), Renovo Hardwood Bicycles (Portland), Dropout Bike Club (Portland), Ahearne Cycles (Portland), Vanilla Bicycles (Portland) and Bike Friday (Eugene).

It was also a welcome surprise to see such a diverse range of bikes represented, from a tall “freak bike” built by Mark Veno of the Dropout Bike Club to a cargo trike built by SE Portland resident Bill Stites.

The exhibit was installed with help from River City Bicycles and was made possible through a collaborative effort by the Port of Portland, the Portland Development Commission, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Sweetpea Bicycles.

If you don’t plan to fly out of Concourse E at the Portland Airport in the next six months, my slideshow below will have to suffice for now. (The PDC should have their video footage available soon as well.)

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Jeff April 3, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Nice! Too bad it\’s behind a security checkpoint (did I read that correctly?) — it would be a nice ride out there on the remaining shreds of the 205 trail to check out the exhibit.

    Do your quotes around \”handmade\” indicate some skepticism, or am I over-reading? Certainly the Renovo bike is mostly formed by a CAD router…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mike April 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I think that the quotes designate that the name of the exhibit is \”handmade\”.

    The bikes all involved lots of hand work, even if parts of them are made my machines.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ken Wheeler April 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Hey Jeff,
    Good point, sort of, but another way of looking at it is that metal frame builders don\’t make their own tubing, they use tubing produced by others on computer controlled machines, then cut it to size, braze/weld and paint.
    What Renovo does is similar, but has more steps and perhaps more handwork; Each piece of wood is carefully selected based on color, grain, figure and lack of defects. It’s then measured for moisture content and if necessary, dried to the correct percentage in our dehumidifying oven. The wood is then cut to length for each part of the frame (up to 16 parts per frame before beginning the complex journey to become a bicycle frame; the pieces visit the temperature
    controlled laminating room, CNC and oven five times each, and along the way enjoy the attention of four different saws, a planer, and a wide-belt sander, all of which are hand operated. The frame and all components are hand assembled on
    an alignment fixture for final bonding,
    then oven cured. Finally, the frame is detailed, sanded and finished by hand, which sends it back to the oven three more times. Even worse, we get splinters from all this.

    btw,it\’s a CNC router, CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, which work we also do in addition to actually making the bikes.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Zaphod April 3, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I\’m throwing down for a Renovo if I ever have money again. {sigh} Carving through a corner at high speed on such a machine must be mind blowing.

    What a great display to greet those traveling to, from, and through Portland!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Grimm April 3, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    That pursuit bike is so sexy, I must have overlooked it at the NAHBS.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Lizard_trek April 3, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I flew out to Denver on Monday. I was sure I must have missed it when I left…it stopped me in my tracks coming home this afternoon. Cool exhibit…could be the start of a bicycle museum!! Too bad it wasn\’t up for the Show last month.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jessica Roberts April 3, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    DOH! I was in the airport today but I didn\’t know to seek this out. Bummer!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • no one in particular April 3, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    If you don’t plan to fly out of Concourse E at the Portland Airport in the next six months

    Note that all five concourses are connected. Once you get past security, if you have some time to kill, you can always get over to concourse E to check it out without leaving the secured area. In particular, there\’s an A/B/C side and a D/E side, but there\’s a bridge at the start of concourse C that takes you over to the start of concourse D (and vice versa).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John C April 3, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I will be back in Portland for Memorial Weekend and will search for this exhibit when I arive. What a great mix of wonderful machines. From Bill Stites\’s wonderful lean steer trike to Sacha\’s Speedvagon. I coolest part is that I will view the exhibit, head downstairs and pick up my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, turn the case into a trailer, and ride to my accommodations. I love visiting Portland!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Matt Picio April 4, 2008 at 12:10 am

    What a wonderful exhibit, and how appropriate for Portland! Growing up in Detroit, I got used to seeing cars on display inside the malls and in the airport concourse (all OVER the airport concourse – probably a dozen cars or more back in the 80\’s), so to have bikes on display here is a wonderful thing.

    Now all we need to do is build up *THE* bicycle show here, one show to rule them all, like the NAIAS in Detroit is for cars. (North American International Auto Show – Portland\’s \”auto show\” compares with Detroit\’s show about the same as comparing a K-Mart Huffy to a Vanilla)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott Mizée April 4, 2008 at 5:15 am

    I\’m going to be there on Monday. I\’ll be sure and check it out. Thanks for the story, Jonathan!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • DJ Hurricane April 4, 2008 at 6:31 am


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) April 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

    \”Do your quotes around \”handmade\” indicate some skepticism, or am I over-reading?\”

    yes, you were over-reading ;-). The quotes were intended to convey the name of the exhibit. I\’ve changed it to italics and I hope that clears up any confusion.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • James April 4, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Imagine my surprise when I saw my picture gazing at those lovely bikes little did I realize it was you who asked me to be in the picture. Funny thing is I work there but rarely get up to where the travelling public is. A co-worker who knows of my interest in bicycles said I should check it out. The display is great and like most of the commentators I was drawn to the douglas fir bike…a thing of beauty!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Laura April 8, 2008 at 6:56 am

    We wandered over from A-concourse to the exhibit last night rather than speeding down to baggage claim. Even the person in our group who didn\’t want to make the hike was drooling and leaving nose-prints on the glass by the time we left. Each of us had a different favorite.

    Thanks to Austin and all who made it happen!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • team uno April 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Just got back from Washington DC, and I was very excited to pass by and take in the bike exhibit. They are some beautiful pieces of machinery.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • revphil April 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    badass, i suppose i could buy a refundable ticket…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • […] fat front tire 6 speed bike I built for myself is now on display along with 9 other bikes that were handmade in Oregon at the Portland Oregon Internationa…It looks like a nice display but it’s behind security so you have to have a ticket to see […]

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • stephanie detjens May 17, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Looking for a custom tri wheel bike for my husband who has knee and hip issues- he is 6\’6\” and close to three hundred pounds

    Want something that can be broken down for travel and with a higher seat arrangement than the recumbent bikes on the market

    would be interested in a made to order bike

    Please respond to

    Stephanie Detjens

    Recommended Thumb up 0