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At Ballista Magazine, the recent arrival of beautiful spring weather has caused our mind to wander; these wanderings, more often than not, lead us to a leisurely bike ride. Since the advent of the first chain-driven bicycle in 1885, there have been very few noticeable alterations to the form of the standard bike. There are obvious exceptions (such as recumbents and trikes) but we seriously doubt that we will be seeing any beautiful illustrations glamorizing their use in the near future. Despite significant strides with regard to form, designers have managed to improve the aesthetic of the standard two-wheeled cycle and contribute to the great variety we seeing beating the streets on a day-to-day basis. In recent years, a veritable cottage industry has sprung up to provide well-designed bicycles; the work of the craftsmen below will certainly satiate your need for stylish speed.
Mission Bicycle Company is located in San Francisco, CA. The company was started when a group of enthusiasts, who were fed up with the bicycles they could find in stores, struck out on their own. All of their bicycles are built one-at-a-time, on-site, by a small team of craftsmen. The frame design was also an inside job; designed by celebrated San Francisco frame builder Emmanuel Eng. According to Mission, The Valencia frameset is “the most durable, lightweight, and nimble steel frame you’re gonna find anywhere.” If you want an orange bike with yellow wheels… they can do that.
The Dutch Bicycle Company imports bicycles that are dripping in design and functionally. The Danish bicycles they import are perfectly suited to urban transportation. In addition, the Somerville, MA company designs and builds their own bicycle, the Swift. The Swift combines the aesthetic of the European bicycles the company imports and a lifetime of collective experience into one sweet ride.
The last two companies tackle more specific design problems: portability and utility. Madsen Cycles offers two models of their urban utility cycle; one with a 3-foot rack and one with a 40-gallon tub. We can only begin to image the variety of uses for each.
Montague Folding Bikes focuses on performance and portability. Getting a bike into the trunk of a car or onto public transportation can be a hassle; not to mention storage. Montague circumvents all that by building folding bicycles for urban environments and off road pursuits.
Let us know what your riding and bicycle designers that you enjoy.