Some say Portland, Oregon is America’s bike capital. I’ve heard stories of dogs on bikes and people riding naked. Is this true, I wondered? Sitting here at Litelok HQ I got curious, as did the rest of the Litelok team. So I got in touch with Meghan Sinnott from Nutcase Helmets, based in Portland, and asked her a bunch of things.
Hello Meghan, can you tell us a little bit about Nutcase Helmets, and how it all started?
We started selling our helmets 10 years ago, but the idea came out of custom helmet "Mr. Nutcase" made to wear at a "Civil War" american football game. They showed him on the jumbo-tron and the crowd went wild, so he got to thinking --- why not make helmets that speak to people? And thus Nutcase was born.
Dots was one of our first helmets and continues to be one of our top sellers to this day!
What’s the Nutcase Unframed Artist Series? How does it all work?
We just finished our fourth annual call for artists. We're encouraging people to vote for their favorite three designs now here.
The program enables artists around the world to have an opportunity to see their art on a helmet. More details can be found here.
We've never had a winner from the UK, so if your readers are interested in submitting their art, we encourage them to do so here.
(They won't be considered for this round, but we will keep their art on file for next year.)
The next three Unframed helmets to be released in February are designed by artists from Australia (by way of Hong Kong), Philadelphia, and Uganda. You can get a sneak peak of these designs here.
I read on your blog that your office is dog friendly, and that some of you bring dogs on bikes. Sounds great! Do you have any tips on how to carry dogs on bicycles?
Oh, man. You're speakin' my language!
YES, we have three dogs here regularly, and two others who occasionally join us. The main dogployees are Maddy (my girl), Roo, and Dexter. Mad is the only one who rides in on a bike these days... and she's the heaviest/biggest at 35 pounds.
I have a front loading cargo bike, but what I prefer to do is have her in my front basket.
I trained her to be comfortable in the basket when she was 3 months old. I used to put her in the basket along with her puppy blanket. Once she associated the basket with comfort, I started to wheel her around the living room. Eventually, I took her out for a ride on a rainy day, so I put a cover over the basket. I'm not even sure she realized she was traveling anywhere...
What about yourself Meghan, what do you do at Nutcase HQ? And what’s your top 3 Nutcase Helmets?
I manage marketing for Nutcase.
The top three helmets that I like that are still in the line are the Metallic Gold (Street), The Professor (Metroride), and Little Monsters (Little Nutty).
The Metroride helmet is our most versatile. I use it when I go on long rides and single track riding, as it's our lightest and has the most airflow. I enjoy the trim fit, magnetic buckle, sturdy spin dial, and reflectivity.
There are so many cool bicycle events in Portland, Oregon. Like Pedalpalooza, what’s that?
It's true! I'm a big believer in the power of the bike fun movement.
Pedalpalooza is 3+ weeks of bike fun in Portland, Oregon. It's organized by volunteers (including me!) who coordinate rides for people to go on for FREE. Last year there were nearly 300 different rides ranging from the Bathtubs and Oddities ride to the Bowie vs. Prince ride.
What other fun bicycle events happen in Portland? And what are the best websites to stay in the know about events?
There are so many great bicycle-related events in Portland.
One of my favorites is Filmed by Bike, a film festival of the world's best bike movies. The World Naked Bike Ride in Portland is also very popular. Last year there were over 10,000 riders!
Finally, if you could have any bicycle, past or present, what would it be?
I used to be a part of an all ladies tall bike riding group called the Irondelles. I really wanted to figure out how to make a hirondelle (retro-direct) bike, but I couldn't get the rigging right--it's not easy on a tall bike with all of the extra chain!
For now, I'm waiting for an e folding bike I can afford.