(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?