By Mark Schoening, Director of Industrial Design
Something had to be done – our lunchroom was overflowing with bicycles of all sorts: clunkers to racers, stingrays to stumpjumpers. Worse: as our once-spacious new building filled with more and more revenue-generatingdesigners and engineers, there was less and less room for their self-powered transportation.
Every Wednesday morning, the SIGMADESIGN folks would come to the lunchroom to enjoy Hump Day Bagel Day. And every Wednesday morning, everyone was reminded that these bikes were still in the way.
On top of that, the Mechanical Engineers were VERY busy – they had no time to conceptualize, design or build bicycle storage. Perhaps the Administrative Staff could find a solution? No, they said, we have boxes to ship, checks to write and strates to admin. The lowly Industrial Designers were the only ones left standing, with that bicycle-headlight-in-the-eyes stare, and nothing better to do. They conceptualized two solutions: the first involved anti-matter transmutation and was quickly dismissed as too hard to remember. The second concept, though by far the most expensive, was executed before anyone had a chance to notice, object or frankly, review.
It works like this: the bicyclist walks [not running or riding] his bike to the rack, lifting the front wheel to a head-high hook, and securing it with a dapper safety tether. When up to 8 other bikes are similarly loaded, and everyone has donned hearing protection, the lift is raised to the ‘storage’ position, some nine feet off the ground. [Click here to see it in action] At the end of the day, the procedure is repeated in reverse. Up to 9 times. To the annoyance of shipping staff. And assembly-lab staff. And everyone sharing our city block. On the positive side, the F16s departing from PDX aren’t nearly so noticeable. All-in-all, the bike lift has proved to be a huge success – and by that we mean that no one has yet been hurt. It is a highlight during client/guest tours, when it is often briefly demonstrated and where guest are advised not to linger. A certain client has expressed interest in having us reproduce the lift at their facility – Bill Huseby’s flattered response: “Let me look more closely at our liability insurance.”