This story is part of our ongoing Oregon Manifest 2009 coverage.
who didn’t complete the “epic” course.
(Photo © BikePortland/Elly Blue)
The Oregon Manifest Constructors Challenge bicycles have been built, raced, judged, and celebrated. The top 15 bikes (12 chosen for their design and the three that were raced the fastest) are on display at Manifest headquarters at NW 10th and Hoyt. Observers are weighing in with glowing reports and criticism.
The major stories have been told — of Tony Pereira’s blue stunner that won the design challenge, Joseph Ahearne’s gorgeous 9-speed mixte, and the jeans skirt and sweater worn by its rider (who changed into a cocktail dress for the final lap).
Other well-covered highlights included first-time racer Dan Boxer’s surprise (and bloody) third place finish on his own bike, and the 77 mile course itself, described by all as beautiful and brutal, with major climbs on gravel all around Portland’s West Hills.
But the weekend was full of less well documented but no less appealing bikes, personalities, and stories. Here are some of our favorites.
Chris Igleheart (Igleheart Custom Frames, Wenham, MA — we published an interview with him last month) rolling across the finish line with a shirt that said “Get Excited and Make Things” and a somewhat shell-shocked smile.
Perhaps the oldest racer on the course, Igleheart rode his own creation — a three speed fixed gear. His easiest gear broke during the race and he ground out the rest of the punishing climbs, in respectable time, with only the other two. The other surprise was finding that his bike folds up —
the only one of two folders entered into the competition (along with the entry of Frances Cycles, Santa Cruz, CA).
Josh Simmonds (who raced for Curt Goodrich Bicycles, Minneapolis, MN) took the requirement to finish the final block of the race in a party suit to a whole new level, showing up dressed as the Jolly Green Giant, with an enormous grin that never stopped. His costume was only rivaled by Scott Nowicki’s appropriately whimsical post-apocalyptic polo knight get-up for racing the Quixote bike.
The Metrofiets (Portland, OR) bike — the only entry with cargo capacity integrated into its design — was escorted by a spirited team wearing matching, vintage-style t-shirts that featured a winged mammoth and the exhortation “Cargo Away!”
Speaking of Metrofiets, their most famous creation, the Hopworks party bike, never stops being a crowd pleaser. Its two taps were running full throttle for two nights in a row at the Manifest headquarters. And its proud owner, Christian Ettinger, raced the entry for Ti Cycles (Portland, OR).
The atmosphere among the builders and racers seemed friendly and supportive. Many builders raced their own bikes, even folks who don’t race much, and many racers were in it for the style points as much as the speed (the riders for Rebolledo of Glen Ellen, CA and SyCip of Santa Rosa, CA took up the rear in a leisurely way, stopping to play for a while on the zipline at Chris King’s barn). I’ve never seen so many happy smiles coming off a sag wagon (including the gleeful grin of Donna Wilson, who raced the Ahrens (San Jose, CA) bike straight out of her two week long honeymoon).
For some builders — Quixote (Portland, OR), Sizemore (Tacoma, WA), Magnolia (Memphis, TN), Framebones (Mill Creek, OR), and Boxer (Seattle, WA) — this was the first time they’d entered a bike into a show.
Chris King’s lunch/party checkpoint.
(Photo © BikePortland/Mark Reber
Spectators were in good humor all along the course. A festive apprehension prevailed at the finish line, as spouses and family members waited nervously and people who happened to be walking by stopped in for a beer. A man rode by on a tiger bike that caught the crowd’s attention; Joel Metz came to pick up the hay bales from the u-lock toss and handily hopped his front-loader onto the curb. The gallery of handmade bikes parked outside rivaled the show inside.
Looking back, another highlight, and part of the broader thesis of the Manifest series, is seeing that the Portland framebuilding scene doesn’t exist in a bubble. As with the rest of our bike culture and infrastructure, we have as much to learn and be inspired by as we do to export.