Holiday Sale at Western Bikeworks

Meet the BikeCrafters: Sketchy Trails, Bicycle Kitty, and Helmet Helper

Posted by on November 21st, 2017 at 2:13 pm

In case you haven’t heard, Portland’s bike-centric holiday gift fair is back! BikeCraft 2017 is December 15-17 at the Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave.) and it’s powered by Microcosm Publishing.

Here’s the latest in our series of vendor intros written up by Microcosm Co-owner and Marketing Director Elly Blue (see the previous ones here and here)…

Sketchy Trails – Kristina Wayte (website)

The artist and her creations.

The first thing that struck me, looking at Kristina Wayte’s work, is her dynamic lines that really capture the thrill and focus of a headlong ride in a gorgeous setting. The second thing that caught my eye is how prolific she is—she has cards and prints, pint glasses and trucker hats, and even cowbells emblazoned with her art. She’s coming down from Seattle as a first time BikeCraft vendor, and I have a feeling we’ll be sending her home with a much lighter load.

How did you get started doing what you do?

I have been drawing since I was a child and then majored in Illustration during University. I began working at a games studio then changed gears when I developed Sketchy Trails. It all started from a mountain bike ride with my twin sister after her summer riding in Whistler. I was so impressed by her that I had to draw her riding. I had never drawn bikes before, but that drawing came so naturally that I continued to draw more. I love riding, but still thought I would run out of ideas after only a few. Now many many drawings later, I have too many ideas to put on paper.

What brings you to BikeCraft?

I met Brian of Velo Gioielli at Gigantic Bike Festival in Snoqualmie, WA. He told me about BikeCraft, and I am excited to be a part of it!

What is your favorite thing about what you do, and what’s your biggest challenge?

My favorite thing is creating a drawing that showcases an iconic trail feature and people responding with their experiences on that specific trail. My biggest challenge is the technical side of the drawing, wheels are hard to draw!

What is most meaningful to you about bicycling?

Nothing is better than conquering a new feature you have been eyeing for months. Or at the end of a brand new trail and you are just blown away with how incredible the ride was. The cherry on top is having your ride buddies with you during your successes and even failures.

Bicycle Kitty – Maria Schur (website)

Bicycle Kitty booth at BikeCraft 2016.

Maria demonstrating proper use of her “Bum-ease” pillow.

A few BikeCrafts ago, I stopped by Maria Schur’s booth to catch up about her long-distance riding exploits, when something shiny caught my eye: she’d painted a bunch of valve caps with nail polish. I’ve long resented valve caps and wondered what the point is, but these answered all my questions. I bought a handful and my rides since then have been infused with extra sparkly unicorn power. That’s only a small portion of what she offers, of course, and her main product completely escaped my attention: the Bum-ease butt pillow.

Here’s Maria in her own words:

When I was working as a bike messenger, I “invented” the butt pillow. It all started when I was told to “stand by” and the only place to sit was a cold stone wall. I was also getting annoyed feeling the outline of my tool kit and lunch on my back through my Zo bag.

And, thus, the Bum-ease butt pillow was born. These hand-made cushions are vinyl on one side and fabric on the other, creating the perfect warm dry place to sit wherever your bike may take you. I’ve carried mine on the Oregon Outback, on The Steens Mazama 1000, on the Thursday Night Ride, and more. It’s saved many a nice lycra short from getting ground-worn.

I’ll have three sizes for sale at the upcoming BikeCraft 2017:
– “Bony” for small butts or long trips
– “Badonkadonk” for big butts or very cold/wet days
– “Goldilocks” for everything in between

(In the photo of me sitting, I’m actually sitting on a “bony” sized bum-ease during a tour of the San Juan islands this September!)

You’ll also find my buddy flap fender extenders, complete with reflective accents, and embellished valve caps for sale.

Come by the Bicycle Kitty booth and say hi!

Helmet Helper – Patrick Leyshock (website)

Put it in and it’ll refresh your helmet.

Every BikeCraft, someone turns up with a new invention devised to solve a problem I never quite realized was a problem until I saw it. When Patrick Leyshock first emailed about his helmet de-stinkers, my reaction was “I wonder who needs something like that?” Then I headed out the door for work, and as I did I caught a truly foul whiff of my helmet, which has been repeatedly getting wet and not quite drying off since the smoke stopped and the rain started. I kind of knew that it smelled but it hadn’t really sunk in. And now that’s all I notice. Patrick, I think you’re on to something.

Here’s Patrick in his own words:

Our helmets get funky: from rain in the winter, and sweat year-round. I make “Helmet Helpers” that fight the funk. Helmet Helpers are tubes of Pendleton wool stuffed with Idaho cedar chips. They absorb moisture and odors, keeping your helmet good as new. Just fold the Helmet Helper in half and place inside your helmet when you’re not using it. Wool is naturally antimicrobial and resists staining. Cedar chips absorb moisture plus keeps bugs and critters away.

Helmet Helpers are a great holiday gift idea for “The Cyclist Who Has Everything”, and a good way to protect your helmet investment (especially if you have helmets that sit on the shelf most days of the year).

Similar products exist for other types of helmets, but either don’t work well for bicycle helmets, or use synthetic materials and chemicals. I realized there was room for improvement so began building Helmet Helpers in my workshop. We’ve got all the right things — wool and cedar — here in the Pacific Northwest.

At work I spend a lot of time in meetings or in front of a computer. After work, I enjoy working with my hands building Helmet Helpers. The challenges I tackle building Helmet Helpers — what color wool to use? how can I fill them faster? what stitch should I use to best seal them? — are refreshing.

I’ve been cycling in Portland for over 20 years, and cycle-commuting daily from the Cully neighborhood to OHSU for the last 3+ years. Zero carbon emissions, exercise, plus the sights, sounds, and smells of the streets … what’s not to like?

Give a Helmet Helper to a friend this holiday season! They’re available at a few local bicycle and motorcycle shops (Crank Bicycles http://www.crankpdx.com, Vicious Cycle http://www.viciouscycle.com/, and See See Motor Coffee https://www.seeseemotorcycles.com/, at the upcoming BikeCraft fair, and directly online at helmethelper.com.

— Elly Blue

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7 Comments
  • Ryan November 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Does the Helmet Helper guy make a Glove Helper? My thin, half-finger, warm-weather gloves can go a few rides before getting too ripe. But whoa, the thick, cold-weather ones get bad quick!

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    • SilkySlim November 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      My simple solution to this has been putting gloves right above my floors heating vents, so that the fingers are pointing towards the ceiling. I use some sort of mail filing thing with vertical prongs, so I can put multiple items on it simultaneously (hat, gloves). Since wet riding tends to coincide with the months my heater is on, the system works seamlessly. And I think the rapid drying is really crucial in avoiding that funk.

      I’ve had similar wood chip things in the past for use in my running shoes, and they were pretty nice too!

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      • Ryan November 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        Oh yes, totally agree, and when I get home I get my stuff on the floor vents (if I think it can go a little longer without washing). The problem is when I’m at work. I’ve got a 13-mile (each way) commute and I sweat easily. Add in some extra moisture from rain/road spray and it’s a bad combo. I’ll sometimes sneak my gloves next to the big fan in our R&D lab but I don’t want to spread the stench around to others who may be trying to work 😀

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        • SilkySlim November 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm

          Nice. At my office we’ve commandeered the banisters in a corner of the stairwell for this. Pretty good airflow in there all day, and nobody has to deal with it for more than a few seconds.

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    • B. Carfree November 21, 2017 at 11:58 pm

      I toss my warm weather gloves into the washing machine with my other cycling clothes and my cold weather ones (which, truth be told, get much more use since in the warm months I mostly ride before sunrise in the coast hills) are neoprene, which go into the shower with me. A bit of shampoo and several rinsings followed by hanging them dry does the trick. When it’s very cold, I have wool gloves and mittens that go over the neoprene. Those just go into the washing machine with other clothes.

      As far as putting things on heaters: I have noticed that I’m in a very small club of people who don’t use a simple heater in the PNW. I run a dehumidifier in the winter, which does heat the place up a bit as it removes moisture. I wonder why so few people install dehumidifiers around here, considering out cold months are so humid.

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      • Eric Leifsdad November 22, 2017 at 4:38 am

        Removing moisture from the air removes latent heat, just like an air conditioner. In our cold and dry weather (when it’s not raining or cloudy), adding humidity helps but will cause condensation problems if your walls and windows are not adequately insulated.

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      • Chris I November 22, 2017 at 7:23 am

        They use a lot of electricity, which is much more expensive than forced air gas. If an electric heater is your only option, a dehumidifier is better, though.

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