Culture Undiscovered: Faking It at Pedal Craft Phoenix

I have to make a confession: I cannot ride a bicycle. Back in the day I used to be able to ride around the block with the best of them, but now I haven’t been on one since the first grade. It’s never seemed urgent, seeing as how I have two good feet to walk on, but I will admit that I feel a little bit like I’m missing out when people start talking about their fancy, no-brakes bicycles. The thing is, I’m not very coordinated in the first place, so probably the last thing I need is a fast-moving contraption with two wheels and no brakes.

Local bicycle enthusiasts at Pedal Craft Phoenix. Photo by Jessica Duckworth.

That being said, I still think that Phoenix bike culture is a lot of fun. I love it when people treat their bikes like an extension of themselves and their personal style, and enjoying all of these (admittedly frivolous) things about bikes through them is usually enough for me. That’s why I was excited when I heard about Pedal Craft Phoenix, a bicycle pub crawl and community art event held to foster Phoenix’s growing community of bicycle enthusiasts.

In addition to the pub crawl, Pedal Craft Phoenix also featured 25 one-of-a-kind bicycle themed posters, all designed by local artists specially for the event. Five hundred museum-quality posters were for sale, and each purchase entered you in a raffle for a gorgeous bicycle supplied by State Bicycle Co. I’m cheap, so I didn’t buy one, but all of them were well worth owning. One even had cats on it!

Artist Lindsay Kinkade’s Pedal Craft poster. Picture by Jessica Duckworth.

One of my personal favorites was Lindsay Kinkade’s, which incorporated some of the bicycle’s subversive history (velocipedestriennes!) along with the standard bike-themed artwork. Check out more of Lindsay’s work at her website, or follow her on twitter. Also on display were artistic, locally made bike racks shaped to look like various downtown buildings — a creative solution to downtown Phoenix’s growing need for increased access to bike storage. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go toward building a pop-up park on a now-vacant lot in downtown Phoenix, complete with shade trees and bike racks aplenty.

If you missed out this Friday, don’t worry — this was the inaugural Pedal Craft, but the event’s organizers have another planned for September’s Phoenix Design Week. And if you’re still not convinced, I can honestly say that it’s worth the trek: even for a pedestrian like me, Pedal Craft was a lot of fun. Everyone was really friendly, and patient enough to explain fancy/complicated bicycle features in depth when I asked. There was unlimited free beer (Fat Tire of course), I saw vintage bicycles that almost made me want to learn to ride one again, and even some shiny new ones caught my eye. While I planned on just pretending for the night, Pedal Craft may have made a real bicyclist out of me yet.

Email me at jlpruett@asu.edu.