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Custom Bike Saddles: Sweet Ride, Sweet Art

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Keith Goetzman, arts, craft, biking, bike culture, bike saddles, leathercraft, Bike Hugger, Kara Ginther,

I don’t know whether to ride on Kara Ginther’s custom bike saddles or display them in a gallery—and fittingly, her designs have been put to both uses. By meticulously hand-tooling Brooks leather saddles, the choice of discerning bikers from slouching hipsters to tweed-clad dandies, Ginther rides that fine line between art, craft, and style. Here are some of my favorite works from her Flickr stream.

A trio of strikingly different designs:

Three saddles by Kara Ginther

A nautical-themed commission in which “I had a lot of fun playing with waves and water,” notes Ginther:

Nautical design by Kara Ginther

A paisley-style design for Ahren Rogers, owner of Banjo Cycles in Madison, Wisconsin:

Paisley design by Kara Ginther

This holiday pattern was “inspired by Scandinavian sweaters and toasty nights by the fire,” according to Ginther:

Holiday design by Kara Ginther

This fancy folk-style saddle “was commissioned to be a display piece,” notes Ginther. “I wouldn’t usually put this much color on a saddle that was to be seriously ridden."

Artifact design by Kara Ginther

A fleur-de-lis and other floral designs dress up a herringbone pattern in this striking black saddle:

Herringbone design by Kara Ginther

Finally, here’s where the magic happens. This is Ginther in her studio in Madison:

Kara Ginther in the studio

(Thanks, Bike Hugger.)

Source: Kara Ginther

Images copyright Kara Ginther, courtesy of the artist.