Best. Conference. Ever.
Ahem. The Eagle has landed.
At approximately fourteen hundred hours today, an eighteen-wheeler rolled through town here in Paonia, Colorado, right past the front windows of High Country News, on a curious mission.
Naturally, we went out to investigate.
And so we discovered … the ConferenceBike.
Pause, please, and meditate on this photo.
That’s a cherry-red seven-seater from heaven, boys and girls. Forget the unfortunate name, with its hint of long hours in the boardroom. The arachnid-looking, septuplet-accommodating ConferenceBike (or CoBi) is the brilliant brainchild of artist Eric Staller (who first built one in the early '90s and called it the OCTOS, and yes, definitely do click that link).
In the modest claims of its creators,
Every group you can think of can use a 'CoBi' as a TOOL and a SYMBOL for bringing people together... the CoBi makes every owner/operator FEEL like an artist; behind the wheel of this bike you SEE the joy that YOU are bringing to people. (Emphasis most definitely theirs).It is a tour bike in Berlin, Moscow and Budapest, a tool for corporate team-building in San Diego, a way for blind people to bike in Dublin, a human-powered bus in Germany and a vehicle to convey people at theme parks in Japan and Spain...
and, of course, a mode of transit on the Google campus.
I’m going to go ahead and guess that this is exactly what Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was imagining when he clambered up on a tabletop at the National Bike Summit last month to declare a new era of biking in America.
At any rate, this particular bike is the property of Paonia resident and patron saint Meg O’Shaughnessy, who sadly was not in town to pilot its maiden voyage; some HCN staff were obliged to fill in.
Goes kinda fast.
Paonia is going to love this thing.