April is Bike Month here in the Valley of the Sun and there are some wonderful events happening to celebrate bicycles and the people who ride them. One of the most visually appealing and fun parts of Bike Month will be Pedal Craft PHX, an event that was founded by Sustainability Manager Jonce Walker and Graphic Designer Jon Ashcroft.
Pedal Craft PHX will take place on Friday, April 20, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Kitchen Sink Studios Gallery, 828 North Third Street. Admission is free.
One unique part of the exhibit will be the showcasing of inventive bike racks, a portion of the event that is curated by SideWalk Phoenix, which is an advocacy group for multi-modal transportation co-founded by Nicole Underwood. Also, throughout the evening, bicyclists, walkers, and pedicab riders will be encouraged to visit downtown Phoenix restaurants that have installed bike racks and are offering special menu discounts for Pedal Craft participants.
I interviewed Jonce and Nicole about Pedal Craft so they could give us the inside scoop on this really cool event. Below is our conversation:
Blooming Rock: Tell me about Pedal Craft. Where did the idea come from? What is the mission behind it?
Jonce Walker: Pedal Craft PHX is a one night event that will bring together bicycles, art, and community to celebrate the city’s growing urban bike scene. The event will feature hundreds of bicyclists, a bicycle-themed poster show, a display of unique bicycle racks, and a ride to selected bike friendly local restaurants.
Jon Ashcroft and I learned about an event that started in Minneapolis called ArtCrank. It is a similar event in that it is a poster show about bikes. We reached out to the ArtCrank team several months ago and invited them to do a show here in Phoenix. They said they were too busy doing shows in London and Austin to focus on Phoenix. Jon and I simply decided to do it ourselves and that is how Pedal Craft PHX was born. The mission is to celebrate the burgeoning Phoenix urban bike community, show our bike friendly local businesses that we like them, to display some amazing local design talent, and to raise funds for the pop-up park located at the RO2 Lot in DT PHX.
Blooming Rock: Why is this event particularly poignant for Phoenix right now?
Jonce Walker: This event is very poignant for Phoenix right now for several reasons. First, April is bike month here in the valley. Second, more and more data is coming out that people, especially the Millennials, are choosing not to drive. We need to let the policy makers understand that what we want is not more lane additions but an equitable system that supports all modes of transportation. We don’t want spend time inside a glass and steel box and pumping gas.
Blooming Rock: Tell me about the bicycle rack component to this event.
Nicole Underwood: SideWalk Phoenix, (a newly formed advocacy group for walkable, bikeable, and livable communities), wanted to highlight bike racks in the downtown air, specifically because bike racks connect riders to their destination. However, bike racks can be much more than that. Pedal Craft saw the potential of bringing this bike rack effort to life by advocating for local artists to build bike racks as iconic pieces for the city. Bike racks are unique. They have a practical function, but they can also be urban art. These metal structures are visual landmarks in front of our local businesses and public spaces, symbolize a city and its residents unifying through the freedom of bicycles.
Blooming Rock: Who are all the community partners who are making this happen?
Jonce Walker: The community partners have been absolutely amazing. And the Pedal Craft PHX team has been awesome to work with. The growing list of community partners include: Bicycle Cellar, Evans Churchill Community Association, Continental Shift, Jon Ashcroft Illustration & Design, Kitchen Sink Studios, Lost Creature, Phoenix Urban Design Laboratory (PURL), Roosevelt Row CDC, SideWalk Phoenix, Synergy Design Lab, and Urban Initiatives.
Blooming Rock: What do you need from the community to make this a successful event?
Jonce Walker: The most important thing we need in order for Pedal Craft PHX is for the community to come to the event and have an amazing time. Remember, we want this to be a celebration of what hard working Phoenicians have accomplished and where we want to go…and where we want to go does not include paying for gas.
Nicole Underwood: We are hunting for welders to design unique welded bike racks for the city of Phoenix for the Pedal Craft event. These bike racks are going to be partnered with downtown businesses in need of racks, or to replace their boring ones. We want these to be iconic! THINK CREATIVE. The racks should house no less than 4 bikes. Also, the design isn’t required to be made of only steel. Racks will be for sale at the event!