The Oregon Manifest has always been a competition to build the ultimate commuter bike, but the rules used to be a little bit different. Framebuilders brought a bike, showed it off, then did a mixed terrain ride, like NAHBS with an alleycat. Actually putting the bikes through their paces was, in my opinion, the defining characteristic of the event; and something that I really missed from this past competition. Regardless of that aspect, I’m a huge fan of the Oregon Manifest and think that it has grown up into a game-changing program. (I voted for PDX though, with SF second.)
So when I asked Mike Crum to grab a cup of coffee I was inwardly thrilled when I saw this Magnolia locked at the rack. Mike is the framebuilder behind Magnolia and as such he has several bikes from which to choose so it was especially cool for me that he brought this one. It was built for Oregon Manifest 2009, when apparently everyone had porteur racks and bespoke bags. Though not a winner, when you look at the details of this bike (the lugs, the braze-ons, the way the stay bridges mimic the rear dropouts) you can imagine that the competition was incredibly tough.
A lot of times we don’t think about the life of the bike after the show but the majority of the bikes at shows like NAHBS actually belong to someone (makes me a bit jealous!) and actually get ridden, some daily. This Magnolia is no exception. It has been ridden in Memphis, where Mike helped open Victory, in Little Rock where he built for Competitive Cyclist, in Salt Lake City where he transferred, and now he’s riding it around North West Arkansas, a hotbed of cycling activity where Mike is getting Magnolia re-started, among the dozen other things he’s doing.
Mike started Magnolia for the art of the frame and has never shied from sharing his artistic knowledge with others. He helped Earl Glazer get started and even led a framebuilding class at the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective. His proclivity to art is not limited to framebuilding: his photography is noteworthy as well. You can view it at http://www.michaelraneycrum.com/ and follow him on Instagram @myke_see.