August was a pretty hectic month for us. We not only had a lot of builds come through, but we ended up organizing an Open House event for the entire Hollis Studios artist enclave. It was a chance for all of the artisans (also known as tenants) that work and play at Hollis Studios to show off their wares, meet new people and meet their neighbors. For our part, we were amazed to find out that one of our neighbors is a print shop called Kustom Rockart Co. We’ve never seen them because they only work at night. Certain inks they use require cooler ambient temperatures. They had older posters hanging on the walls and spread out on tables for people to see. Among the coolest were their 3D posters. Wearing 3D glasses, the effect was absolutely amazing.
Another one of our neighbors was PLUSH, a custom cabinet and furniture builder. As a bunch of guys that construct things with their hands using a raw material, there is a strong mutual respect amongst custom furniture and bamboo bike builders. Zachary is one talented guy and I personally love his aesthetic. Lean and efficient would be the words I’d use to describe his work. I could attempt to describe it, but the pictures on his website tell the story better than I ever could with words.
The event was a huge success. Meeting our neighbors gave us a renewed sense of community in the building that we all share. We had a bunch of people swing by and we made some new friends. We’ll have to see about hosting future open houses. Like us on Facebook to get the latest updates on future Stalk Bicycles events.
Now for the bike porn. One of the most unique builds we did this month was for a client who basically wanted a “backpack on wheels”. He’s an avid touring cyclist and his spec required that the bike be able to carry some serious amounts of luggage. The pictures tell the story of the result. As with many of our “special” builds, it’s never an easy path. We’ve done cargo bikes before, but not one that allowed the use of panniers. Suffice it to say that it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. As soon as we delivered it, he took the bike out for a 75 mile touring ride. You gotta love hardcore riders who aren’t afraid to beat on bamboo.
Show some love for the Hollis Studio tenants and check out their sites:
Recently, we completed a bike for an important customer. The bike came out beautiful, per our usual standards. We incorporated a specific dark-colored species of bamboo for the seat stays which made for a unique constrasty looking frame. But the other noteworthy feature of this bike is the geometry. We designed the geometry for a relaxed riding position and a more “cushy” ride. You can tell from the images that the proportions of the frame are a little “different” than most of the bicycles that we’ve built in the past, being more stretched out. The effect is a longer wheelbase which results in a more stable, cruiser-like ride.
But enough about the bike. The significance of this bike, really, is that it belongs to Albert Cheng, a living icon in the Bay Area Chinese community. He is former president of the Chinese Culture Center and co-founder of the In Search of Roots program, with over 40 years of community service. Both of these entities serve to promote the appreciation and discovery of Chinese culture to current and future generations. This includes hosting examples of Chinese visual arts, literature, music and theater through exhibitions and public programming.
The Roots curriculum in particular, focuses on a year-long research program, where interns research their own Chinese-American family history and genealogy. The interns also spend a significant amount of time exploring the Pearl Delta region of Guangdong Province, where most of Chinese American originated from in the mid-1800′s. Our very own co-founder, Nick, participated in the program in 2010.
Al will be at an opening reception on Saturday, June 25 at the Pacific Heritage museum that will celebrate the path of discovery that Nick and his fellow Roots interns experienced. Through art pieces, photographs, poetry and more, it’s an amazing exhibition of self-discovery. Consider checking it out this summer:
Pacific Heritage Museum
608 Commercial Street (between Montgomery and Kearny Streets)
San Francisco, California 94111
The Museum opens Thursdays through Saturdays, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM. Phone is 415.399.1124.
Stalk Bicycles has always been about building bikes that reflect the personality of the rider. In building and designing this bike with Al, the Stalk Bicycles team has developed a deep respect for him, his love of Chinese culture, and his generosity. Whether you’re Chinese or not, we as people, can all understand the innate curiosity to know where we came from.
After a few days of owning the bike, Al was kind enough to send us an email, “Love your bike. My younger son loves it even more! Thanks for building such an incredibly beautiful and eco-friendly cycle.” Thank you Al, for your years of commitment to the Bay Area community.
It’s been almost two weeks since Earth Day and the “wounds” are still fresh. It was a lot of work but boy was it worth it! For those of you that missed it, Stalk Bicycles was invited to participate in the SF California Academy of Sciences’ 3-day Earth Day event. The team was there for Thursday night’s Nightlife party, then camped out for two more days of non-stop Earth Day action. Nearly 13,800 people came by the Academy over those three days…those are amazing numbers. It gave us new respect for all of the work that is required to operate that facility. It’s a combination zoo, aquarium, museum, learning and research facility all in one.
While the entire weekend was a story unto itself, the real story was meeting all of the bicycle enthusiasts young and younger that came by our exhibit. The kids loved spinning the cranks and wheels on our bikes. If Stalk Bicycles doesn’t work out, our backup plan is to create an amusement park. There’s Disneyland, Lego Land, Sea World and the like. We would create Bike Land…a big parking lot full of bikes. Kids could spin wheels and cranks until their arms fell off.
An interesting subset of enthusiasts weren’t even bicycle enthusiasts. They were craftsmen and plant lovers. We met surfboard shapers, custom furniture builders, carpenters and a few bamboo growers who asked lots of great questions and shared their stories. It was as if our bamboo bikes got us into “the club”. There’s a mutual respect between people who have suffered through the trials and tribulations of building something from scratch. One furniture builder actually came by to ask about our joint wrapping techniques because he had been contracted by a client to build a custom bamboo ladder for their home library. Another stand-up paddle boarder came by and shared his adventures with using bio-resin to repair a broken board. We had a great time trading stories.
Special thanks go out to Lisa and her team at The Academy of Sciences for working with us and giving us the opportunity of sharing our wares. Until the next Earth Day…live responsibly.
Just a few weeks ago, we received a special invitation to join our friends, Star Apple Edible Gardens, at the 2011 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. The team at Star Apple are essentially landscape artists…but they do their work using sustainable and edible plants. After seeing their setup at the San Mateo Event Center, a big palm slap to the forehead followed. When you look at the gardens and landscapes that they create, it blows my mind that more people don’t do this. As a layman, I think that Star Apple’s concept is simple and pure genious.
Modern civilization began with agriculturally-based societies. That is to say, our “gardens” back in the day, fed us. Fast forward, and we began seeing gardens that were created for “looks”, but non-functional. That was and still is, a luxury for people today. In a society where we have big cities, high population density and little space, I see Star Apple’s genius in making functional gardens that not only look beautiful, but can help contribute to feeding our families. It’s just plain cool and the Stalk Bicycles team gives them 2 thumbs AND 2 big toes up.
Our small contribution to their huge exhibit was a “rolling garden” in the form of a bamboo cargo bike. The “cargo” was a selection of herbs in the bike baskets. It was definitely a curiosity for the people walking through. You saw beautiful gardens of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and then a…bamboo bike? It definitely drew it’s share of attention and for that, we want to thank Star Apple for inviting us along for the ride. If you’re interested in finding out more about Star Apple and their amazing urban farming creations, look them up at their website: www.starappleediblegardens.com