At the beginning of Riga Cycling Week here, in the editorial office, we receive a quite unexpected piece of news – two local artists made the first glass bicycle in Latvia and in the world.
When asked about their masterpiece, the authors – Artis Nīmanis, the artist of Studio „an&angel”, and Gatis Vasiļjevs, the artist of „Pomzero” – still get abashed and shyly look for the right words. The glass bicycle has just undergone its first test drive – a narrow circle of friends and co-workers tested the bicycle in Andrejsala proving that it can hold a man of 90 kilos and fits perfectly for cycling. „It was hard to believe it’s good for cycling,” admits one of the artists.
After experimenting with different connecting materials for a number of months, the glass details, glued in several layers, stick together, and the challenging idea of combining the fragile yet plastic material with speed and moving around in the city has proved right.
There it is – the first glass bicycle for men constructed in Andrejsala creative incubator that will serve the two artists as a prototype in the quest for perfection, better metal details and lighter construction.
„It was a challenge for us – nothing of the kind had been made until now and we thought we could be the first ones”, says Gatis. „Usually the good ideas vanish either because of lack of time or energy,” adds Artis, saying that they created the masterpiece by depriving themselves of weekends and hours normally spent to relax after working days for several months in a row.
The bicycle weighs 21 kilos, 13 kilos of which are well polished and nice to the touch parts made of glass. There is no way the rider can cut himself while cycling. The glass vehicle is said to be easily manoeuvrable, although due to the chosen material it has its specifics – it cannot be used for competing.
While the bicycle manufacturers aim at strength and lightness of their production, the goal of Gatis un Artis was mainly the transparency. „Our objective was – the less parts there are, the better. We will only have to provide a glass polishing cloth to keep it shiny. If you bring the bicycle indoors from cold, it can get dim with steam,” says Artis.