The Strida as an example of "problem-solving" design

“More cool bicycles like the Strida folding one that could help make giving up the car that much easier?”

In a recent N.Y. Times article, writer Allison Arieff laments that industrial designers have created too many precious, useless objects and calls for a return to “problem-solving” design. The article’s spirit is right in keeping with the cycling business trend towards commuter, cruiser and cargo bikes.

Maybe one way the recession as good for design is to see it not as a form of punishment for frivolous designers but rather as an opportunity to allow for a rethinking of design itself — and the role of the designer within it.

This rethinking needs to come not just from designers but from the manufacturers, companies and other clients who decide what products and projects will be produced. There’s no excuse not to examine and re-examine what’s made, how it’s manufactured, what materials are used (and which are recyclable), what benefit it’s giving the consumer (or lack thereof) and what contribution, if any, it’s making to anything other than landfill.

A beauty from Bilenky

Arieff’s article places the bicycle industry’s reconsideration of its product lines in the context of a larger societal shift towards more sensible, practical products. Anyone who has seen the latest crop of utility bikes can agree that “The work that springs from this sort of questioning does not have to sacrifice beauty for utility, vision for practicality.”

12 Comments

  • Tony Bullard
    April 9, 2009 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    I'm sorry, but I can;t imagine a single person in the world who would see that orange folding bike and go, "Finally! Now I can give up my car!"

  • Tony Bullard
    April 9, 2009 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I'm sorry, but I can;t imagine a single person in the world who would see that orange folding bike and go, "Finally! Now I can give up my car!"

  • Alison Chaiken
    April 9, 2009 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The Strida wouldn't have been my first pick either, compared to, say,the Specialized Globe or Bike Friday or Breezer Uptown. Ariefff, the article's author, is a design person, not a cyclist. Nonetheless, the points she makes about what the goals of design should be are worthy of consideration.

  • Alison Chaiken
    April 9, 2009 - 9:42 pm | Permalink

    The Strida wouldn't have been my first pick either, compared to, say,the Specialized Globe or Bike Friday or Breezer Uptown. Ariefff, the article's author, is a design person, not a cyclist. Nonetheless, the points she makes about what the goals of design should be are worthy of consideration.

  • murphstahoe
    April 9, 2009 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    But when you see the strida people on the caltrain you have to admit they fold to a much more compact easy to carry footprint than the other bikes…

  • murphstahoe
    April 9, 2009 - 10:33 pm | Permalink

    But when you see the strida people on the caltrain you have to admit they fold to a much more compact easy to carry footprint than the other bikes…

  • Yokota Fritz
    April 9, 2009 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    and that's exactly what Sanders designed the STrida for — a multimodal train+bike commute.

  • Yokota Fritz
    April 9, 2009 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

    and that's exactly what Sanders designed the STrida for — a multimodal train+bike commute.

  • Tony Bullard
    April 13, 2009 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    No doubt it's a good folding bike, but I don't think I've ever heard the excuse "bikes are too big" as a reason for someone to drive rather than bike to work.

  • Tony Bullard
    April 13, 2009 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

    No doubt it's a good folding bike, but I don't think I've ever heard the excuse "bikes are too big" as a reason for someone to drive rather than bike to work.

  • Yokota Fritz
    April 13, 2009 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Tony, the Strida was designed specifically for solving the "last mile" problem in mass transit, where size and weight of the bike is an issue. It's a tool more to enable public transportation use rather than just bicycle use.

  • Yokota Fritz
    April 13, 2009 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Tony, the Strida was designed specifically for solving the "last mile" problem in mass transit, where size and weight of the bike is an issue. It's a tool more to enable public transportation use rather than just bicycle use.

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