Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 8th, 2010 at 3:06 pm
Johnnie Olivan of Portland-based Rejuiced Bikes has won a $15,000 commission to build a mini-fleet of “bike-cars.” Olivan has already been riding several of his bike-cars around Portland, but he’ll use the money to take the design to the next level.
The commission comes from a joint project by Seattle-based non-profits 4Culture and Great City. Olivan replied to a call for ideas through Great City’s aLIVe project, which “aims to spark interaction across disciplines, showcase ideas and suggest action around issues of energy, livability and design.”
(Photo: Johnnie Olivan)
The aLIVe project, which stands for A Low Impact Vehicle Exploration, was born from an event put together by Seattle artist Cheryl los Remedios. Here’s more about aLIVe from Great City:
“A Low Impact Vehicle exploration is an artist-initiated, multi-phase effort to re-imagine our transportation system as designed around the human body. Right now, we design vehicles to withstand high-impact collisions, and our roads move freight and people at high speeds. aLIVe asks, How can we make transportation safer for our own biology and use less fossil fuel, reduce vehicular emissions, and prevent unchecked growth of the transportation network?”
Olivan was one of eight recipients to win a commission. He has already built several bike cars and has been riding and testing them on the streets of Portland for over seven months. This funding will allow him to take the design to the next level.
When I met with Olivan over the weekend, he said he’s most excited about how the money will allow him to improve his design. He’s especially interested in a version of his bike-car that incorporates a hand-cycle that can be accessed and driven by someone in a wheelchair. A ramp flips out and the wheelchair rolls right into position.
Check out the schematic:
Other designs he’s working on are a bike-car that doubles as a rainwater catcher and a “mini school bus” Olivan says will fit up to six kids. In addition to getting high marks for utility, Olivan says riding one of his bike-cars is just a lot of fun. “People that have experienced the bike-car always say, ‘This is so much fun, I’ll go the store with this just because it’s fun to ride.'”
Another interesting aspect of Olivan’s work is that he builds out of used bikes exclusively. Olivan is a master at making useful products out of used bikes and parts. I profiled his cargo trailers a few months ago and he has kept busy of late doing custom work for Klean Kanteen, the Community Cycling Center, the Sprockettes and others.
A short film about the bike-car (produced by Olivan) will be shown at the upcoming Filmed By Bike festival.