These visionary designers and craftsmen are bringing an indie spirit to mainstream design
Custom-bike builders usually make one-of-a-kind dream machines for the spandex set, but Jeremy Sycip goes way beyond that—designing cargo bikes that can haul loads typically requiring a car. “A custom-bike builder is really a problem-solver,” says Sycip, who has been building bikes for 20 years. Among his nontraditional solutions: specialty bikes for local businesses like San Francisco salumeria Boccalone, to deliver their “salty pig parts,” and Noci Gelato in Mill Valley, which needed a bike with huge coolers front and rear.
Since 2010, he’s also taken part in a progressive project called Oregon Manifest, where designers build bike prototypes that hold a variety of things, from a six-pack to a week’s worth of groceries. “The coolest thing about it is that it’s a testing ground” for elements he might incorporate into his own designs, he says. “We actually ride these bikes 50 miles to see how they function.” His invention, in collaboration with San Francisco design firm Fuseproject, has a giant cargo bin in front with wheels on either side of it, a sort of SUV trike.
Hauling bikes have yet to become mainstream, but the idea of an all-use bike has been catching on. “I’m getting a lot more requests for wider tires, fenders, rack mounts,” he says, “the things that let you use one bike for every purpose.”