Handmade bicycle exhibit opens at Portland, Oregon, airport

Handmade bicycle exhibit opens TODAY at PDX More than three million airline passengers are expected to see the showcase of frames designed and built in Oregon

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Handmade bicycle exhibit opens TODAY at PDX
More than three million airline passengers are expected to see the showcase of frames designed and built in Oregon

Starting April 3 and running through early October, ten custom bicycles will be on display at Portland International Airport’s artOBJECTS showcase in Concourse E. The bikes, all created by Oregon builders, demonstrate a combination of engineering skills, precision metal craftsmanship, cutting edge design, and a passion for cycling shared by the represented bike builders. The ten examples on display represent only a few of the builders working in Oregon, but they share the common goal of providing a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted machine that is both a unique ride and a functional work of art.

Organized by the Port of Portland, Sweetpea Bicycles, Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the exhibit features frames selected by a committee of RACC representatives and Oregon framebuilders. Included in the display are Stites Design (Portland); Bike Friday (Eugene); Jeff Jones Custom Bicycles (Medford); Renovo Cycles (Portland); Keith Anderson (Ashland); Ahearne (Portland); Drop-out Bicycle Club (Portland); Vanilla (Portland); Chris King (Portland); and Vendetta (Corvallis).

According to Natalie and Austin Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles, “These bikes are special because they represent a range of designs, materials and fabrication methods from around the state. They also offer a glimpse into the role that bikes play in the lives of Oregonians from those designed for racing, replacing a car, riding up and down the mountains, or simply the joy of riding. While each of these bikes is designed for a specific purpose, the exhibit captures a broad aesthetic range as well, from the classic stainless steel of the Vendetta track bike, to the exuberant tall bike from Drop Out Bike Club, to the Douglas Fir of the Renovo hardwood frames. The joy of riding ties them all together.”

The artOBJECTS case is a beautifully designed exhibition space that mirrors the narrow nature of the concourse itself, and is fronted by a 40-foot-long, floor-to-ceiling wall of glass. Established in 2001, the artOBJECTS program serves as a showcase for the region’s visual arts and is managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. The program’s intent is to present comprehensive and diverse exhibitions every six months that pique the curiosity of visitors and residents, and promote further exploration Oregon’s dynamic and evolving creative scenes and spaces. Past exhibitions have included works by individual artists in the region, a group exhibit of ceramic artists as part of the National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts, a 40-foot long handmade artists’ book from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and architectural artifacts from the Architectural Heritage Center.

Projected total passengers for the airport during calendar year 2008 is 14.9 million; the Port of Portland expects more than three million people will see the exhibit during its six-month run. Because the display will be accessible to ticketed passengers only, a short video about the exhibit and the local framebuilders will be posted on RACC’s website at www.racc.org and www.bikeportland.org by Wednesday, April 9.

The exhibition represents many hours of planning, selection and coordination on the part of the sponsoring organizations, with additional assistance from River City Bicycles (706 SE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.), which provided care and storage of the exhibit bicycles before the installation. Information on the framebuilders is available at www.bikeportland.org.
The framebuilder exhibit is one of several initiatives coordinated by PDC and the cycling industry to support local bike-related business development. For more information on cycling business support, contact Jennifer Nolfi at PDC, nolfij@pdc.us or 503-823-0271.

The Oregon Bike Summit is taking place this weekend, April 4-5, 2008 at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion. Keynote speakers include Congressman Earl Blumenauer; Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong; and Hill Abell, board president of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The conference will include breakout sessions geared at specific topics ranging from event planning and creating successful partnerships to sustainable tourism, bike-friendly communities and how to affect policy at the local, state and national level. For more information contact Karl Rohde at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance at 503-226-0676 x12 or visit them online at www.bta4bikes.org

Through vision, leadership and service, the Regional Arts & Culture Council works to integrate arts and culture in all aspects of community life. On the web at www.racc.org

PDC was created by Portland voters in 1958 to serve as the city’s urban renewal agency as laid out in Chapter 15 of the City’s Charter. PDC provides comprehensive housing, development and economic development programs within the Portland region. www.pdc.us

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