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8 September 2014 No comments

The Printing Bike Project

Friends Curiosities Uncategorized Bicycles Art & Design Stories
The Printing Bike Project
One of the nice things about working amongst a community of designers, engineers and artists is the opportunity of collaboration. When I moved a collection of letterpress type and presses next to the workshop of my friend the bicycle builder, Robin Mather, it seemed like  a good idea to do a project together.  The idea was to build a bicycle capable of carrying a small printing press and all the equipment needed to print ‘on the road’, and then do a significant journey. Robin has been developing the idea for the bike for a long while. The bike, which can carry a big payload, is just a little longer than a normal road bike. It is achieved by using BMX sized 20” wheels along with a clever tube arrangement. For the last month or so, Robin has been building the bike. This week it went for painting ready for the adventure proper to roll off on September 16th. The journey involved riding from Bristol to Mainz in Southern Germany. Mainz is the home of modern printing, and is where Johannes Gutenberg invented printing with moveable type in 1440. On the journey through England, France and Germany we will print postcards en route and post them to folk who have helped us fund the project through Kickstarter. Sometimes we will meet an artist friend who will carve a piece of lino for printing then and there. Should be a lot of fun. I’ve done long journeys before, cycling around the coast of Britain and Ireland in 2009-10. On that journey I made films en route of craftsmen and women who I met. So I’m interested in what’s possible on a bike. I am a massive fan and user of Brooks saddles and panniers and would have nothing else for this adventure. I’ve also plumped for drop bars and derailers as I don’t see why carrying a printing press should be any excuse for style, comfort (or a bit of speed now and then on a downhill). We will record the adventure on Twitter, Instagram and blog as best we can, so you can follow our progress. We aim to be in Mainz on or around October 4th. http://www.departmentofsmallworks.co.uk