February 18, 2008

"Fabricators' Kids Have The NICEST Bikes."

Vanilla Cycles 001, originally uploaded by brianwickman.

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show was held in Portland last weekend. Tucked in among the insane randonneurmobiles were at least a few kid-sized bikes.

That mostly seem to have been built for the fabricator's own kids. At a basic level, that makes sense; what builder wants his kid riding around on a POS from TRU?

That incredible tricycle and the mixte city bike below were both at Sacha White's Vanilla Bicycles, . That trike has a cut down Brooks saddle and bag and Phil Wood wheels.

NAHBS Day 2, originally uploaded by BikePortland.org.

The Trike's been on the circuit a while. It was described as Vanilla's "famous tricycle" at last year's NAHBS, and as world famous in 2006, when it won Best of Show at Interbike. And it's the only photo on flickr at the moment with the tag, "trikeporn".

[And no, since there's no mention of them on Vanilla's site, I'm guessing those sweet silkscreened trike posters are sold out.]

White's daughter is now 8-yo,, which sounds too big for a trike. Thus, the mixte, which UrbanVelo says has a five-year waitlist. As if parents of a 3-yo didn't have enough to keep track of already without planning their kid's 2nd grade rides.

NAHBS_Friday_b-26.jpg, originally uploaded by BikePortland.org.

A Little Vanilla, originally uploaded by Lynne Fitz [whose quote is also the title of this post].

There's a top-down shot of the mixte here. and all over flickr, frankly. If flickr didn't exist, snap happy bikegeeks would've invented it.


Now to shift gears, so to speak; they're three words that strike fear into the heart of girls' dads everywhere--purple. sparkly. butterflies. What's a titanium race bike builder to do?

I'll be damned if Roark hasn't figured it out, and how. Insanely mitered and welded titanium curves. Wheels machined from 2-inch thick slabs of aluminum. A 9-speed internal SRAM i-Motion hub--with a coaster brake, remember, it's for kids, not show. A custom titanium & sparkle chain cover. Hints of purple, pockets of sparkle. And butterflies everywhere. And by embedding both kids' names into the saddle, you can encourage them to share.

See details in the Roark NAHBS butterfly bike gallery [roarkcycle.com]


When we turned the corner and saw the butterfly titanium kid bike, my daughter started saying "I like that, I want that bike" repeatedly, cracking the builder up.

I once got my foot caught in the spokes of my bike (yeh I am clumsy like that). It was a nasty deep cut under my foot that probably should have had stitches. When I saw that butterfly bike I had the weirdest sensation in my stomach (ummmm-ok--like --butterflies). That bike is so pretty but I am guessing those butterflies could remove complete body parts if entanglement were to happen whilst bike was in motion.

[they didn't mention it, but those butterfly wings are honed to razor sharpness. -ed.]

That trike is something else. I've been drooling over it since I saw this photo back in December.

And on a note somewhat related to "three words that strike fear into the heart of girls' dads everywhere," have you seen Ruby's "this diagram of a girly girl"?

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