A Mobile Tea Bike


Of all “first world” nations, ours struggles with some of the highest rates of crime, unhappiness, isolation, and polarization. Lack of public gathering places reinforces our perceived separation.

The City Repair Project fosters thriving, inclusive and sustainable communities through the creative reclamation of public space. We accomplish this by facilitating the emergence of place, the process through which physical locations or “spaces” become imbued with meaning. Even a dreary, underutilized space can be a container for connection.

Combining the energy of tea and functional art creates the possibility for us to transcend. Since 1995, City Repair has combined these time-tested tools of placemaking and tea to create a fleet of mobile tea-houses including the T-Bike, T-Whale, T-Pony, the T-Palace and the T-Horse. This spring, we are launching a new addition, the T-Crab! This bike version will better demonstrate environmental sustainability than our previous truck-based models.

The T-Crab is a crab-shaped, Japanese-inspired tea bike-cart being designed and built by Adrian Haley from Crows Foot Creatives. T-Crab metamorphosizes into a whimsical awning and meeting space. Herein, gatherers are drawn to free home-crafted teas like bees to nectar. It opens its arms to contain gatherings for celebration, mutual support, and community organizing thereby creating cultural mixing zones in public meeting deserts.

As a pedal-powered electric assist vehicle, it has the ability to squeeze into underutilized spaces that the T-Horse was too truck-like to participate in. Where do you think T-Crab’s agility can be best used to activate unusual spaces and collaborations?

Crowsfoot Creatives Construction began April 1st. As fabrication of the folding legs and kitchen progresses over a two week period, we will resolve design considerations for the tea-serving system. Following fabrication completion, the skin will be made and fitted by a local sail and awning maker. By mid-April it will be outfitted with electric assist, and linkages (how it attaches to the bike). By the end of April we will begin the ‘sea trials’ where kinks and bumps are worked out on the road. It will be finalized and painted, and outfitted with the awning ready to debut at the Village Building Convergence (VBC), June 2-11, 2017. 

As a mobile event space, the T-Crab is a tool for transforming inaccessible spaces into meeting places. This creates the opportunity for people who may otherwise never speak to each other, to sit down, share a cup of tea, and build common ground. It creates usable exterior shelter for a variety of uses anytime, anywhere and for all people. Additionally, it does so without dependence on resources like fossil fuels within an unjust capitalistic system of profiteering.

We're also doing this project to support each other. Special thank you to Shop PeopleWaagmeesterPortland Bureau of TransportationPortland State University and especially Ethan Seltzer and Colin Platt from Underdog Unlimited.

If you're able, join our fundraising campaign for the T-Crab!