22 September 2009

DESIGNER BIKES launches with Scott Henderson

Designers live-breath-think-dream design. So what better people to interview about their bikes than designers? Why do they ride them, and how they deal with logistical and technical issues facing the modern city cyclist? With this in mind, I am thrilled to be launching for the LOVE of bikes' DESIGNER BIKES profiles with an Industrial Designer who's work I've always admired for it's friendliness and functionality...

dustpan & brush for OXO / Vicks Underarm Thermometer for Kaz Inc. / 'Hare' grooming set for Skip*Hop / 'Grip' rake for casabella / 'Splash' baby bottle brush & drying rack
Scott Henderson is an American designer who heads the New York based design studio Scott Henderson Inc. and is also Principal and Co-Founder of MINT where he designs, manufacturers and distributes home accessory objects to over 350 retailers and museums throughout the world including The Museum of Modern Art and Design Within Reach.
Scott is known for his ability to transform the mundane. He believes that if something makes you smile it becomes easier to use. With over 50 patents in the U.S. and Europe for projects as diverse as housewares and home accessories to consumer medical products, electronics, even aircraft- his work has been widely recognized in exhibitions, awards programs and in the press.

You may have seen him in the New York Times a couple weeks ago and are likely to have used one of his products - and if you are a recent parent you are likely to own more than one. I recently caught up with Scott as he arrived to his DUMBO studio by bike, a 10 minute commute from his home.

Why do you commute by bike?
Its fast, easy, cheap and fun. Great to get that fresh air in the morning too.
For what reasons do you ride the type of bicycle you do?
I ride a mountain bike because I live in the city (ironic?). A mountain bike though is good for jumping curbs when the street is blocked by a garbage truck or something, or for riding over the jagged cobble stones and pot holes of the torn up streets of DUMBO where my studio is. The mountain bike is rugged and I don’t care if it gets scratched when its locked to a bike rack.
What is your most memorable experience while riding?
I did a 100 mile ride once up into the Catskill Mountains, and it was a great feeling to cover that distance in a day on just a bike. You really respect the bike when it’s your only way out of the middle of nowhere.

What is your favorite bridge to ride?
The Brooklyn, because it and its views are so incredible, but the Manhattan is a faster ride as there’s no one on its foot path.
Your favorite path?
I like the west side highway path, but I don’t ride it very often. Great to ride by the water. I ride my bike every day, but it’s really a utility vehicle. I find I rarely ride it just for fun unless I take my daughter for a bike ride. It’s all about transportation.
What are the challenges that you face riding a bicycle in NYC?
You have to be alert and second guess the drivers. Theft is a concern too, although I’ve been lucky about that so far.
How many bikes do you own?
Four, but I just use one. The other three are kid’s bikes in various stages of being grown out of, and that I will soon sidewalk sale away.
How do you store your bicycle at home?
My building has a large basement where I keep it, so it’s not in my living space hung on the wall or ceiling. The challenge I have there is getting it up and down the stairwell to the basement -- a technique I have now perfected.
Do you work on your own bicycle?
No, I leave it to the professionals. I take it to Brooklyn Heights Bike shop on Atlantic Ave. and the owner tunes it up on the spot -- no appointment -- while I wait.
What would be your dream commuter bike?
The one I have is all I need. A Trek Mountain Bike

Product photos & bio text via Scott Henderson Inc.

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