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Massive crowds flock to Oregon Manifest event: Field Test route revealed

Posted by on September 23rd, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Crowds pack into PNCA’s gallery to see the Oregon Manifest entries.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Huge crowds flocked to Pacific Northwest College of Art in downtown Portland tonight for a chance to see for themselves how some of the top bike builders and designers in the country tackled a challenge to create the “ultimate modern utility bike.” The event was the big public unveiling of entrants into the 2011 Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge.

As beer and music flowed through the high ceilings of PNCA’s gallery space, appreciative crowds took in the diverse array of bikes. Warm temps heated things up as people squeezed in shoulder-to-shoulder, trying to get a clear glance at the details and features of the entries.

Also at tonight’s event was the debut of the Field Test route. Bright and early tomorrow morning, all the entrants will be transported to the Banks-Vernonia Trail. From there, they’ll ride over 50 miles back to Portland.

The goal of the Field Test is to see how the bikes handle real-world conditions. A variety of special tests will be set up along the way and the judges will be out on course taking notes.

Here’s how event organizers describe the route:

“A diabolical combination of on- and off-road terrain, flats and hills, and rural/suburban/urban environments, the… route will truly test the mettle of our builders’ bikes…

This course is designed to prove the actual capabilities of the Perfect Utility Bike – covering all kinds of ground, carrying a rider and a whole lot more, efficiently and safely.”

All the riders will end up at the Chris King factory (2801 NW Nela St) in Portland Northwest Industrial District where they’ll be given a hero’s welcome and the public is invited for a big party. Starting at 2:30 pm, there will be live music, food, drinks, and another great opportunity to see these amazing bikes. At about 6:00 pm, the judges will announce the awards.

Which entry will take home the $3,000 top prize?

Stay tuned for more coverage. Check out my Oregon Manifest photo gallery here and read all today’s coverage here.

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  • matt picio September 24, 2011 at 5:33 am

    “Diabolical” indeed, they’re going through the infamous intersection in North Plains. Don’t forget to come to a complete stop AND put your foot down, or the $3,000 prize won’t be the only thing you’ll be going home with.

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  • Paul Souders September 24, 2011 at 7:03 am

    This looks like a fun route and it will be awesome to watch. It’s pretty close to a lot of my weekend fun rides. As a RACE it’s great. As a TEST it’s lousy. It avoids the kind of cruddy high-traffic, poor-bike-infrastructure suburban roads that define where most people in the Metro region live and work. You know: the people we struggle to get to ride a bike to work for a day or two in September.

    I’d love to see the bike that would pwn my old commute along Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy and Walker Rd. I’d buy that bike in a heartbeat.

    I’m of two minds about this year’s Manifest. I love the bikes and I love that attention is being focused on bikes-as-transportation. so YAY! And I get that the Manifest is the bike building equivalent of a fashion runway in Paris (no one actually WEARS those dresses). But somehow it seems to be missing the point…

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    • Patrickz September 24, 2011 at 8:23 am

      I thinks you make a very good point; adaptability would be the name of the game, especially if we don’t just commute. (Not to put down the gorgeous designs we see here).

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    • METROFIETS September 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      Hey Paul,

      Your comment illustrates EXACTLY what we were focusing on for our cargo bike entry for this years Manifest challenge. First it was our intention was to build a cargo bike that can adapt to a wide range of needs and situations; with a cargo platform that can be swapped out for a box, a milk crate, child seat, a pallet whatever.

      As for parts, we focused on updating our frame so that one could walk into any “normal” bike shop and get the parts needed to fix it, lock it, light it, gear it, clean it etc.. We succeeded on that front as well as making the frame lighter stiffer AND easier to construct.

      Did you get to see it?

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  • Caroline September 24, 2011 at 8:15 am

    How much does it cost to go to the event today (Saturday)?

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  • Patrickz September 24, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Sorry; that was: I THINK…

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  • J.R. September 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Event entry is free. Many of the bikes involved are for the real world. Just waved goodbye to a bus load of riders headed to the start. Good luck all! Go team!

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  • GlowBoy September 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Wow, that was awesome last night. Great range of bikes, many of them absolutely beautiful! Good luck riders!

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  • roger noehren September 24, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Beautiful bikes, but the idea of trucking them 50 miles out of town to ride in on a route that is atypical for the purpose for which they were built seems antithetical (a primary reason to own a utility bike is to live carfree). Why not have an in town loop?

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    • Doober September 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

      We have many out of town participants/guests/abilities to consider in the mix, also. Let us not scare them away!

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  • eric September 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I could put together an in-town loop which includes off-road, suburban shit-roads, urban bike lanes, and Sandy for the ULTIMATE test. And the penultimate test: Which bike works best on the max from hollywood to downtown?

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    • nom de plume September 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      I 100% agree that an in-city loop would be much better. I also believe a bus or rail segment should be part of the route for sure.

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  • gianni faresin September 25, 2011 at 8:24 am

    The route included a city portion. Ask the riders if they’d rather do 50 miles on suburban shit roads or the rural/urban combination they did yesterday. Most would choose the latter, hard as it was for many. They worked very hard on their projects and deserved a good ride. If you want to ride 50 miles through strip malls on your awesome bike, go right ahead.

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  • lil'stink September 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    To those complaining about the route: I believe one of the objectives was to see how the bikes could hold up and actually, you know, work. It wasn’t just about being a beauty contest. The route didn’t include suburban shit roads, but some of the nicest road riding that could be found in the area. While a predominantly urban route might have been nice, I assume that might have included more logicistical issues with permits, etc. Not to mention issues with traffic. There seemed to be at least as many non-contestants riding the route as actual contestants, so the organizers had to take that into consideration.

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