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At MAD: Cutting Edge Custom Bikes

Hand-tooled leather seats. Shining stainless steel bodies. Bold, chunky tires. The Museum of Arts & Design has turned me on to a fetish I never knew I had: a covetous lust for custom bicycles.

Featuring the designs of half a dozen custom builders from around the globe, Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle is a tribute to all things beautifully-crafted on two (and three) wheels. The exhibition, which opened May 13, presents designs geared at commuters, racers, mountain bikers and kids -- from the sleek to the retro-cool. Not to mention a minimalist steel-frame tricycle by Sacha White that makes me wish I was three years old.

The exhibit, sadly, doesn't include the sorts of crazy bike modifications that regularly turn up on the streets of Brooklyn. But there was enough salivation-worthy design -- by the likes of Sacha White, Mike Flanigan, Dario Pegoretti and many others -- to make me realize it's time to upgrade from my clunky, banged-up cruiser.

The show is up through Aug. 15.

Inspired by old roadsters, this kids' utility bike is the sort of retro ride a public radio reporter could rock while scoping out art exhibits.
Inspired by old roadsters, this kids' utility bike is the sort of retro ride a public radio reporter could rock while scoping out art exhibits. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Designer Sacha White created this custom trike -- with stainless steel and cherry wood -- for his daughter Delilah.
Designer Sacha White created this custom trike -- with stainless steel and cherry wood -- for his daughter Delilah. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Detail from a sky blue track bicycle created by the custom shop Vanilla, in Oregon.
Detail from a sky blue track bicycle created by the custom shop Vanilla, in Oregon. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Admiring a row of bicycles, at the show's opening.
Admiring a row of bicycles, at the show's opening. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Detail of a frame constructed by master custom bike builder Dario Pegoretti, who lives and works in Italy.
Detail of a frame constructed by master custom bike builder Dario Pegoretti, who lives and works in Italy. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
A chunky custom design by Jeff Jones, who is based in Medford, Oregon.
A chunky custom design by Jeff Jones, who is based in Medford, Oregon. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
A personalized pedal (which stands for Alternative Needed Transportation), by Mike Flanigan.
A personalized pedal (which stands for Alternative Needed Transportation), by Mike Flanigan. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
The Gold Sportif Bycicle, a commissioned custom bike.
The Gold Sportif Bycicle, a commissioned custom bike. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Leather seat detail from a Vanilla custom track bicycle from 2006.
Leather seat detail from a Vanilla custom track bicycle from 2006. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
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