This is what happens when you ask Portlanders to build balance bikes

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ccc-auctionlead

Balance bikes for bid. See more photos below.
(Photo: CCC)

From the Bike Mechanic Challenge back in June to their successful Transportation Trivia Nights, the northeast Portland based Community Cycling Center has a knack for dreaming up great ways to support their cause.

But this one might take the cake.

In the spirit of the season when little kids dream of their first bike, the CCC challenged five of its staffers to compete in a “Balance Bike Build-Off”. For the uninitiated, a balance bike is a tiny bike for toddlers without pedals or gears and a seat so low it can be powered by running instead of pedaling. They’re simply the best way to learn to how to balance, and ultimately ride, a bike.

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Portland (and the world) needs more scraper bikes

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Baybe Champ, the Scraper Bike King.
(Still from video by California is a Place on Vimeo)
-Watch video below-

“I’m a big shot. Scraping on my bike. I don’t need a car gas price too high… Blue, yellow, orange wit bling, scraper bikes is on the scene.”

That’s a line from a rap by Baybe Champ, the Scraper Bike King, who started the movement from his hometown of Oakland, California. Champ, his friends, and his growing legions of fans spend their days painting, decorating, and riding their bikes through the streets. They prove it’s possible to have fun and get attention and respect by cruising on two wheels instead of four.

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Bike Seen: Gram Shipley’s “4-by-4” urban hauler

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The 4-by-4.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Every now and again I come across a bike on the streets of Portland that I feel is worth sharing.

Back in December 2007 we featured Gram Shipley and his scraper bike. Last night, outside the Bike Commute Challenge party at City Hall, I did a double take on a customized old-school mountain bike with an odd brake configuration. A few minutes later, its owner walked up and I realized it was Mr. Shipley yet again.

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Seen on the street: A colorful scraper bike

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Gram and his scraper.
Slideshow below
Photos © Jonathan Maus

The other day I crossed paths with a colorful personality and an even more colorful bike.

I first met Gram Shipley at BikeCraft. He wanted to display his wares (hand-sewn leather mud-flaps and casino dice valve caps), but didn’t get enough of them made in time for the show.

But when he rolled by me just off of N. Vancouver near Legacy Hospital the other day, it was his bike I noticed first.

Gram says it’s a “scraper” bike (scrapers are the hot thing right now, as evidenced by this YouTube video from Oakland, CA). What exactly makes it a scraperbike? Gram says it has to do with tricking out the spokes.

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