Saturday, October 17, 2009

A.N.T. Open House: Lovely Bicycle Sightings

As those of you who are local may know, Mike Flanigan of A.N.T. hosted his annual Open House today. What is A.N.T, you ask? Alternative Needs Transportation is one of the most respected makers of handbuilt bicycles in the U.S., with a focus on "not sport... transport". And they happen to be located not far from Boston, in Holliston, Mass.

A studio view of the classic A.N.T. Boston Roadster. Mike Flanigan has been a professional TIG welder for over 15 years, and all of his experience has been poured into making the Boston Roadster what it is: a seriously sexy bicycle, combining strength, reliability, utilitarian simplicity, and a handsome physique.

There was a lot happening at the Open House, including workshop tours, contests, tasty Indian lunch, hot apple cider, a 15 mile scenic foliage ride, and much velo-obsessed conversation. But for the purpose of keeping the length of this post in check, I will focus specifically on the bicycles.

I would say that the star of the show was probably the Basket Bike, available as either a men's or a ladies' frame. It was absolutely delightful, and everybody wanted to try it out.

As you can see, the front wheel is smaller than the rear, which is good for carrying heavy loads. The basket is enormous, and will fit at least 3 grocery bags side by side.

The front rack is welded onto the frame itself, improving the handling and stability of the bicycle when loaded.

Custom mount for the dynamo light is elegantly welded onto the fork blade. A.N.T.'s custom light mounts are just some of the features that make their bicycles special.

Another striking bicycle was this Scorcher Antique, which belongs to Randy. This is an amazing bicycle; it is impossible to capture in photos just how beautiful it is and how harmoniously all the colours and components fit together. The Scorcher Antique was built for the Shimano Alfine Frame Builder Challenge and won 3rd place.

The custom front rack features a "rising sun" design. This is perhaps the most beautiful front rack I have seen, and I think A.N.T. should offer it for sale in its own right. Note the light mount attachment.

Decorative lugwork and headbadge on the Scorcher Antique. Mmmm.

Seat cluster. Beautifully done!

Speaking of beautiful, it's time to move on to the ladies. Pictured above is Lacey's Boston Lady Roadster in vermillion red with cream tires. Lacey was kind enough to allow me to ride this bicycle and I will post a separate Test Ride Report about my impressions soon.

Laura's Derailleur Roadster. I absolutely love this colour. Notice the matching rims and the custom wooden front rack.

Betsy's turquoise Mixte. Yes, A.N.T. builds mixtes with twin lateral stays. This is another bicycle that I took for a spin, and a Test Ride Report is forthcoming.

And finally, Mr. Flanigan himself with his own bicycle - the original Scorcher, which I believe is a fixed gear.

Beautiful lines and a harmonious colour scheme; an aesthetic that is both vintage and minimalist. I should note that the handlebars on Scorcher models are custom made.

A.N.T. has recently announced that they will once again be making fully custom bicycles, which has made a lot of people very happy (the wait list had closed at some point, and for the past year only standard models had been available). Mr. Flanigan is a knowledgeable and generous person, whom I recommend very highly as a frame builder and whose A.N.T. website I invite you to visit. We had a wonderful time at the Open House and we thank Mike and Betsy for their hospitality. I also thank all the bicycle owners for their permission to photograph them with their bikes.

It looks like my attempt to limit this post to a reasonable length was not exactly successful, but I hope you enjoyed the photos!

15 comments:

  1. So sad I missed that! I can't wait for your review.

    BTW- I pretty much made up my mind. I'm going to go with an ANT. I'd still like to ride it. But I have this feeling that I will like it. I also think my funky short frame with long legs for the frame deserves a custom to my size bike!

    sigh. Well, hopefully I can go next year and bring my ANT with me. :-)

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  2. Wow.... what a stunning selection of absolutely beautiful and very individual bikes. I do love that rising sun front rack; very elegant indeed (as is the Scorcher Antique it's mounted on). The turquoise mixte is intriguing; looks like hub brakes at the front? Super colour too! I look forward to reading all your test rides :-)

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  3. Oh boy... I just went to the ANT site and looked at the Boston Roadster. The 'full suit' chainring... I feel faint! :-) And I desperately want one of those! What wonderful details on these bikes...

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  4. Carinthia - What you are seeing on the front wheel is a dyno hub, for powering the headlight. I will have close-up shots of all the details in my Test Ride Report!

    Vee - I think you should be able to test-ride Betsy's mixte with the saddle all the way down; if I recall correctly the frame size is small. [Betsy is Mike's partner, so both she and the bike are still there even though the Open House is over :) ]

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  5. Wow, that front rack just looks awesome! And the red bike -- simply gorgeous!

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  6. Wonderful to have met you and yours at the open house. Also wonderful to see your blog and the bicycles presented. Take care, have fun and do good.

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  7. I was hoping you would attend and report back to us :) I love seeing all the bikes and, as always, you have a great eye for detail. Can't wait to read the test-ride reviews.

    MamaVee, Happy to hear that you decided on an ANT - that must be so exciting for you!

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  8. Randy - It was great to meet you guys as well and I like your blog!

    Anna - Yes, the red bike is particularly elegant, I think. The curve of the loop frame is just right and the red+cream is a gorgeous combination.

    Dottie - I see MamaVee on a dusty-violet ANT with brown leather saddle and grips : )

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  9. Ya know, if I weren't already up to my PBH in contemporary scorchers I would be sorely, sorely tempted.

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  10. Nothing like a good kfg comment on a gloomy miserable Sunday afternoon : )

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  11. oh dusty violet! yeah yeah! Or that seafoamy green pictures above.

    I'll probably post asking for color advice. too many wonderful colors to pick from.

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  12. I have added A.N.T open house to my bucket list. I have always loved Mike's designs and executions of them. They are gorgeous bikes and sometimes look almost too nice to ride (I said almost!) But he obviously takes pride in what he does and it shows.

    Aaron

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  13. Lovely to have met you in person and finally put a voice to your words. It looks like you had a great time at the party! I wish we could have stayed longer but we the skies were threatening and it was too cold to ride wet. Of course it didn't rain. Boo. Anyway, glad to see all your great photos!

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  14. Charlotte - It was good to have met you as well! I must say I was more than a little impressed that you guys traveled by bike. That's what, a 55 mile round trip? Plus the group ride? All taken in stride and fresh as daisies. Respect!

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  15. Yikes, it turned out to be 80 miles total. That's not too much for us in the summer, but was bone-chilling on Saturday.

    Wasn't Betsy's mixte gorgeous? Can't wait for all your reports.

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