The 2009 Oregon Manifest (10/2 – 11/8) can hardly be called a bike show. After the success of their first show last year, organizers have signed a presenting sponsorship deal with Chris King Precision Components and transformed the event into five “concentrated weeks” of art, workshops, and unique events designed to showcase the nation’s best handmade bicycles.
The highlight of this year’s Manifest is the Constructor’s Design Challenge and the Constructor’s Race. Builders from around the country will design and build a transportation-oriented bicycle that will then be raced on a 77-mile epic ride and judged by a panel of experts.
Event organizers describe it as a “technical trial of engineering dexterity and fabrication mettle.”
The bikes will be raced by either their builders or a designated rider and will have to survive a series of trials along the course. Judges will base their decisions on criteria ranging from performance to functionality and aesthetics.
Just what is a “technical trial” you ask? Here’s a list of them from the contest registration packet:
– A market checkpoint: pick up 1 glass-bottled sixpack of beverage to portage thru the race
– Securing the bike from theft while in the market
– Section where the rider might portage the entire bike
– Stopping for and carrying food to bring to the finishline party
– Looking good when rolling up to the finishline street party: several blocks before the finish, riders must stop and change into their party attire in an OM tent (carrying this attire throughout the race is part of the Design Challenge) before crossing the line, yeah!
Frame builders from around the country will design and build a transportation rig hardy enough to tackle the worst on-and-off-road conditions in the Oregon Territory, yet nimble and swift enough to be competitive in the Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Race.
— From event registration materials
I also noticed that points will be deducted if elements of the bike are “loose, rattling, or otherwise inoperable at the race finish.”
The three big days of the Manifest kicks off on the Friday night before the Constructor’s Race. There will be a pre-race party where you can rub shoulders with builders and their bikes. On Saturday, they’ll hit the race course (created by Rapha, the event’s presenting sponsor) and finish in downtown Portland. On Sunday, builders will join the mayhem of the Cross Crusade opener at Alpenrose.
The top 12 winning Design Challenge bikes and the top 3 Constructor’s Race bikes will then be displayed for five weeks at a Portland storefront (location TBA). The storefront will also host a series of diverse events, workshops, and entertainment where, “the craft and culture of cycling will be uniquely broadcast and celebrated.”
Also new this year will be a coffee table book, The Craft of Handbuilt Bicycles, which will be based on the event and created by the Manifest’s team of video and photo pros.
Wow. This is going to be one heck of an event/show/manifest/festival, whatever you want to call it (and no, I’m not just saying that because BikePortland.org is an official partner).
Stay tuned for more coverage. There are some exciting event announcements yet to come!