Bespoke – the Handbuilt Bike

One of co-curator Sacha White’s custom built touring bikes.

While bespoke usually refers to clothing, back in the 1880s, when the bicycle was first invented, the two-wheeled wonder was handcrafted to suit the size and style of its rider. Now that bikes have made their way back into popular culture, not only for recreation but as practical transportation, the bespoke bike is no longer a thing of the past. The latest exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design, “Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle,” salutes the bike builders of today and shows off their snazziest wares.

Curated by Michael Maharam, the exhibition profiles 6 of the world’s leading bike artisans, including Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles in Portalnd who helped Maharam with the curatorial process. The designs range from vintage-inspired, like Mike Flanigan’s Basket Bike, an updated versions of the old French mailman’s bike, to White’s children’s bike designed to grow along with the child, to racing bikes like Richard Sachs’ Signature Track Bicycle, constructed for use in the velodrome out of repurposed bike parts from the 70s.

“Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle” at MAD until August 15, 2010