At MAD: Cutting Edge Custom Bikes

Friday, May 14, 2010 - 01:08 PM

The Museum of Arts & Design's custom bike exhibit -- as seen through the spokes of the Vanilla Randonneur Bicycle (2010) (Carolina A. Miranda)

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.

Carolina A. Miranda
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.
Carolina A. Miranda
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.
Carolina A. Miranda
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.
Carolina A. Miranda
A personalized pedal (which stands for Alternative Needed Transportation), by Mike Flanigan.
Carolina A. Miranda
The Gold Sportif Bycicle, a commissioned custom bike.
Carolina A. Miranda
Leather seat detail from a Vanilla custom track bicycle from 2006.


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Comments [2]

will have to check those out! thanks, gareth... and i do love the retro nature of those vanilla bikes...

May. 20 2010 08:38 AM
Gareth from Sheffield

Bikes like the Vanilla are fabulous examples of bespoke craftsmanship, but they are more trailing than cutting edge. They represent a rejection of the moves in professional cycle racing for bikes which are increasing disposable carbon fibre (ie plastic) bikes.

Another manifestation of this trend is the Tweed Run

May. 18 2010 04:21 PM

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net


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