Mike Flanigan from ANT Bikes has redeveloped how we look at the bicycle as transportation. ANT is short for Alternative Needs Transportation, and Mike with his partner Betsy Scola are reviving the pre-century concept of cycling as a proper blend of fashion and function. The simple lines of the bikes draw your eyes into areas normally unnoticed, where you start to see the artisans’ touch on normally mundane bits. The Light Roadster is a contemporary interpretation of a 1940’s era French Delivery bike, with some elegant yet subtle accents. A closer look reveals that all the accessories are purpose-built, fully custom and express strength combined with style.
Betsy is yet another voice here at the NAHBS who speaks not as an exhibitor in another trade show, but as a happy member of a builders’ community. Listening to her talk of Mike’s devotion to the industry and his customers, I realize the meaning of being in the catbird’s seat. A one man show takes a special approach to be able to successfully cover all aspects of a custom build (not to mention complete bike options),keep the customer happy AND not go insane. Many small builders choose to farm out various aspects of a custom bike to maintain quality, yet looking at the ANT all I see is quality tip to tail and a smiling frame builder next to it. Mike is happy with the business size and is able to complete 50 bikes per year.
On a lame note, Mike had a beautiful blue folding bike stolen from his hotel here at the show and has pictures on the website. Look for it! Karma will reward anyone who returns it.
- Tim Richardson
Photography: Enrique Dominguez