WHEN I FIRST got into bicycle maintenance in the leadup to a three-month tour around Southeast Asia, I remember thinking, I’m probably never going to learn how a car works, but this I can wrap my head around. The mechanics of the bike were simple enough that, after a few weeks of study, I could point out any individual component and explain its role within the system at large.
Maybe this simplicity of design has something to do with how many incredibly innovative custom jobs you see on the road. As long as you stay within the fundamental framework of wheels + drivetrain, you can add, embellish, or subtract whatever you want and the bike is probably still going to ride (and look good too). Or maybe it’s just that people who ride bikes are inherently awesome. Hard to say.
Either way, the collection below showcases some of the most creative bicycle designs out there. Many of the shots were actually captured at New Belgium Tour de Fat events, which typically feature a bike parade, contests and competitions, nonprofit fundraising, and beer. There are a lot of parallels between custom bike design and craft brewing…but that’s another article.