Blu Dot has long been a staple if you’re looking for reasonably priced modern furniture. Now the Minneapolis-based company is applying its popular design aesthetic to the bicycle, in collaboration with its Minnesotan neighbor, Handsome Cycles. The best part? Buy one of the $799 Blu Dot x Handsome bikes, and Blu Dot will donate a utilitarian Buffalo Bike to the Bicycle Relief Fund in your name, which provides access to transportation by bike in developing countries around the world. You can bike in style while doing good at the same time.
For Scott Smrstick, a furniture designer who’s been with Blu Dot for 10 years, the bike was a chance to imbue a more unorthodox project with the company’s design sensibility. Smrstick and his collaborators first started with one of Handsome Cycles’s best-selling frames, stripped of its details and accessories. Inspired by the Minneapolis cafe racer scene, they added curved handlebars to give the bike a classic look, and a coaster brake so that no levers or cables would obscure the bar’s clean lines. Smrstick points out that the leather of the handlebar grips and Brooks saddle are reminiscent of one of Blu Dot’s popular lounge chairs, which features a minimalist wooden frame with a sturdy leather sling.
“You have these very luscious materials where your body interacts with the bike, and the rest of the bike is very minimal and stripped down,” he says, a decision that echoes their design philosophy. “Our approach to furniture is trying to do the least amount of design possible while still creating something beautiful and useful.”