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Bicycling Locals Bring Pedal Craft PHX to Life

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 16:04

Pedal Craft PHX

Ryan A. Ruiz • Special to College Times

Jonce Walker (left) and Jon Ashcroft are co-founders of Pedal Craft, a bicycle pub crawl set to take place at a number of Phoenix hot spots.

Strap on your helmets and start peddling because the inaugural Pedal Craft PHX is riding into town.

One group of bike enthusiasts and graphic artists is celebrating Phoenix’s budding flirtation with cycling with the premiere Pedal Craft PHX event. On Friday, Phoenicians are invited meet up for an evening itinerary that offers a perfect mash-up of bicycles, art and community.

“It’s a way to help foster the revitalization of downtown, the arts and different forms of transportation other than the automobile,” said Jim McPherson, one of the event organizers. Other organizers are Jon Ashcroft, Jonce Walker, Nicole Underwood, Dorina Bustamante and Jeremy Stapleton.

The free event will kick off at 6 p.m. at Kitchen Sink Studios Gallery in downtown Phoenix for a poster art exhibition. Twenty-five local artists were selected to create one-of-a-kind bicycle-themed posters. Each artist will have a limited number of signed prints available for sale, each priced at $20. Poster enthusiasts can rest assured; the prints are museum-quality and produced with acid-free archival paper and ink.

Not only are the posters a perfect addition to any bike or art enthusiasts’ bare walls, they are also products for a cause.

A percentage of the proceeds from the poster sales will go back to the downtown Phoenix community, helping to fund a pop-up park project in a now vacant quarter-acre lot on the northeast corner of Second and Roosevelt streets, dubbed the Ro2 Lot.

“We plan to work with a local design firm to create a pop-up park with things like shade trees and bike racks to liven the empty dirt lot and show an example of a temporary infill project,” McPherson said.

Outside the art gallery attendees can also check out some locally made bike racks. The bike rack display is a collaborative effort with Pedal Craft PHX and SideWalk Phoenix, a local advocacy group promoting livability in downtown Phoenix to help create density and connect people to their communities.

“When you see a bike rack, you think functional, but when you see a bike rack that is creatively designed by someone local it becomes a lot more than a bike rack, it becomes a symbol and it connects people to their community,” said Underwood, co-founder of SideWalk Phoenix. “It’s not just a piece of metal or steel anymore — it’s a symbol.”

One of bike racks on display is celebratory of Phoenix’s skyline -- molded to mimic Chase Field’s dome, Wells Fargo Plaza’s outline and other downtown buildings.

Underwood hopes to see these artistically made bike racks used by local businesses where she has noticed a demand for bike racks grow. Even if you aren’t a cycling aficionado, Underwood urges people to dust of their bikes or rent one and go for a ride.

“I’m still able to get to my destination but I’m experiencing the city that I’m living in now,” said Underwood, who opts for two wheels over four-wheel transportation. “The car cuts you off from that lifeline. You have your destination in mind and you are missing everything else in between. The bike opened that door for me and allowed to me to see what was inside of my city versus seeing it pass me by.”

After taking in their share of bike art, participants are encouraged to burn fat instead of fuel and walk, bike or pedicab to downtown restaurants that have installed bike racks and are offering special discounts for Pedal Craft PHX attendees.

“Our evening ride is intended to create a swarm of bicyclists in downtown Phoenix to help bolster the local economy, convey the need for more bike infrastructure, and facilitate the exchange of friendly high-fives,” explained Jonce Walker in a press release.

The next Pedal Craft PHX event is set to coincide with Phoenix Design Week in September.

Kitchen Sink Studios, 823 N. Third Avenue, Phoenix, pedalcraftphx.com, 602.258.3150, Friday, April 20, 6 p.m., free

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