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Oregon Manifest scales back, moves to biennial format

Posted by on March 3rd, 2010 at 8:17 am

oregon manifest constructor's design challenge

An entry in the 2009 Constructor’s
Design Challenge.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

Organizers of the Oregon Manifest have announced they’re moving to a biennial format and scaling back the event to focus on the Constructor’s Design Challenge. The event, which began as a handmade bike show over one weekend in 2008 and grew into a six-week series of events last year, will take place again in 2011.

Jocelyn SyCip, the director of the non-profit Oregon Manifest, said they plan to focus efforts on the Constructor’s Design Challenge, an event that’s part technical trials and part bike show. “We see tremendous potential for the Constructor’s Design Challenge to become an international showcase for the craft and culture of hand built bicycles. This is clearly an event with staying power deserving of greater cultivation.”

The two years between events will “provide bicycle frame builders a generous production window to present the best design solutions to the design criteria,” added SyCip.

29 builders from seven states entered last year’s Constructor’s Design Challenge. The bikes were judged for utility as transportation vehicles and were ridden through an epic road test before being displayed for admiring crowds in a storefront in Portland’s Pearl District (for full coverage of the Design Challenge, browse the nine stories we posted about it). A coffee table book that documents the event is currently in production.

Check out OregonManifest.com for more information.

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15 Comments
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    Mitch March 3, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Given the demand on the bike builders (and the event organizers) in Portland, more time is certainly deserved. Better that they have more time to take it to the next level than have to rush to finish within the year.

    This post brings back the question in my head though, why is there not some sort of center for bikes in Portland? I know there is the BTA office, but it’d be great to have a central location with a gallery to showcase local bike builders, bike industry, local accessory makers, and have events year around (such as the Constructor’s Design Challenge).

    A bike museum would be great too. Track back the history of bikes in Portland? Give the BMX museum a bigger venue? It’d be a big tourist draw as well. Anyone have lots of money? Let’s do it.

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    Gabriel Nagmay March 3, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I think this is sad. Sure the builders were given a tight time frame, but it was a “challenge” after all. There were some really inspiring designs in 2009 – will suck to wait until 2011…

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    matt picio March 3, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Gabriel (#2)- Oregon Manifest 2009 was a massive event, and Jocelyn SyCip and Diane Chalmers put in hundreds of hours coordinating it and getting all the stars aligned and ducks in a row. The event spanned 6 weeks, involved a half dozen city agencies (not to mention cooperation with at least one other country), at least 3 non-profit organizations and over a dozen sponsors, street closures, alcohol permits, insurance, waivers, and a few thousand administrative tasks, hundreds of emails and dozens of phone calls. As someone who was peripherally involved in the organization of the event, let me say that the community has no idea how much work, sweat and grief these two outstanding women and dozens of volunteers endured to put it on.

    I’m actually kind of glad it’s being scaled back, though also sad. I think the main reason to have this every 2 years is to give the builders a break – being part of the challenge brings them recognition, but that’s also time they’re not doing something which pays their bills.

    I look forward to seeing what OM comes up with for 2011!

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    Chandler March 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I agree this is the correct move. It should allow for better competition without affecting so many days of operation by the builders.

    As for the staff who put this on .. a great respite until the next show that I will undoubtedly come to and be in awe.

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    mtmann March 3, 2010 at 11:53 am

    If you get a chance to hunt down the Winter 2009 issue of Bicycle Quarterly and read Jan Heine’s take on the manifest, it’s good reading. As anyone familiar with the original French technical trials knows, they had a tremendous influence on bicycle and component design – influences that remain relevant today. Part of Jan’s article focused on how in some respects the last Oregon Manifest trial focused more on the appearance of the bike and not enough on the performance. By backing off a bit, I hope the organizers can create trials that are truly bicycle performance tests, where points are given for design, weight, finish time, and durability. Give the builders plenty of notice of the criteria – say carrying 15 pounds of cargo 200km over mixed surfaces and terrain in the fastest possible time – and let the judging be based on the criteria.

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    beth h March 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Oregon Manifest was an enormous event both financially and logistically. It makes sense to take a year off so the organizers can figure out how to make the event more accessible (location, events and hours) and, frankly, more profitable (because based on what I saw there is no way they could’ve done this and NOT lost a ton of money; and you need to turn at least a LITTLE profit just to keep the event afloat, even with volunteers staffing everything).

    I suspect we’ll see a smarter, leaner event with a sharper focus in 2011; and with a steeper admission charge to help pay for the costs of putting it on.

    I look forward to the next Manifest, and wish the oprganizers all the best.

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    Mark Allyn March 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Is there any city/location that has a ‘bicycle center’ which we could use as an example or goal to look to?

    Or would we be the first ones ever?

    I know of only one thing that came close; an architecture student at University of Washington did a design of a bicycle center and museum that would be adjacent to the Marymore Veladrone in Redmond, Washington.

    Mark

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    Dwainedibbly March 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Mrs Dibbly & I timed a vacation in Portland to coincide with OM last year and we were delighted by the quality & number of entries in The Challenge. It was the highlight of our trip. While a less-frequent event is a little disappointing, I’m all for it if that means a fiscally healthier event with an ultimately brighter future. Managed carefully, OM has the potential to be around for a long time.

    I did read the articles in Bicycle Quarterly. There are a number of constructive ideas there.

    We also enjoyed the Art Crank poster exhibition. Hopefully that can continue as part of the event.

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    Mitch March 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    @ Mark #7:

    There’s none other that I know of for bikes specifically. I think it’s great that events seem to pop up all over the city, but having a place that’s a sort of ground zero for bikes would be great I think.

    It could be the subject of a design competition too. There was a courtyard housing competition a few years ago that generated hundreds of entries.

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    Jocelyn March 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks so much for the support. We have great plans in store for 2011.

    I haven’t been but I know there’s a bike museum in Davis, CA:

    http://californiabicyclemuseum.org/

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    KWW March 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Is there any cooperation between Oregon Manifest and the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association?

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    John Russell (jr98664) March 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Darn it. By the time 2011 rolls around, I’ll be across the country. That’s what I get for not going before.

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    GregSea March 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I went down for the weekend that included the OBCA show. I particularly had fun at the Portland by Bike : Tour + Panel Discussion – that event was a great wonky capstone to the whole month of events.

    Thanks so much to the organizers and I’m definitely hoping to see the 2011 Challenge.

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    Charles - ARTCRANK March 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

    This is bittersweet for me. On one hand, I understand the challenges of staging such an ambitious event every year, and I support any decision designed to keep OM going in a sustainable fashion. But being a part of the experience last year was an honor and a thrill, and I’m sorry that people will have to wait ’til 2011 for the next one.

    ARTCRANK is absolutely committed to doing shows in Portland for as long as there are art-loving bike freaks and bike-loving art freaks to enjoy it. I want to personally thank Jocelyn and everyone at OM for inviting me to Portland and making last year’s show possible.

    Portland has many bike champions, but the folks at Bike Portland and Oregon Manifest are truly heroic. I look forward to bringing a new show your way this fall.

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    Mitch March 4, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Charles.

    Artcrank was awesome last year, glad to hear you’ll be doing it again this year. My two posters are proudly displayed at home.

    Perhaps you could link up with Bikecraft if that’s happening again this year?

    http://www.bikeportland.org/bikecraft

    I’m sure a standalone show would draw tons of people too.

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