Sacha White of Vanilla here in Portland builds drop-dead gorgeous bikes. From a distance, most look like they could have been built twenty to fifty years ago; from three feet to inches away they are simply startling in elaborate, sensuous detail, integrating the best new bike technology with timeless design sense and unbelievable craftsmanship. His talent is incandescent. He’s barely thirty. Where’s he going?
Sacha and his family — wife and two kids — are car-free. They require uncommonly practical bikes. Naturally, this led them to take an interest in Xtracycles, and they’ve been riding one for months now. Seeing our family getting around on Xtravois might have hastened the inevitable:
I’m severely flattered that he too chose a mixte-like construction.
Sacha built this longtail as a wedding present for his assistant Ben. That meant improvising speedily after hours, and the night and fog of secrecy introduced some modest errors he points out too quickly. He and Ben finally let me photograph and ride it nevertheless.
Ben’s a very lucky man. This is the lightest, most comfortable longtail I’ve ridden yet, at least unladen. Single-speed pending a little work, upright, sprung and softened with air, steel, leather and cork, it just floats over the harsh old concrete and basalt streets, up curbs, over the grass, dreamy. Perhaps more importantly, it looks like an object of burning crazy love instead of cool dull utility; it erases the line. That kind of genius just might save us.