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This trans-coloured bike custom built in Montreal took top prize in major trade show


It's got curves, it's got colour, it's got style and it's got a message.

"The Heart" is a custom-built bicycle from a Montreal framebuilding shop that just took home the Peoples Choice Award at one of North America's biggest bike shows: The Philly Bike Expo.

"It was really a big deal for us, since we're pretty young as a company - we've been in the business for two years and a half - so it was a lot of pressure to go there," said Memento Cycles co-owner Eliane Trudeau. "It was our first bike show ever, too."

The ride that took home the prize was a true passion project for Trudeau.

"It was also sending a message, the whole bike, with the colour scheme based on the trans flag," said Trudeau.

The Philly Bike Show called the bike "an Ode to Joy" with its curves and style and show-stopping front rack that is "elegantly bent into a heart shape."

Trudeau did the welding while her partner Ronny Perez Jaramillo bent and mitered the tubing.

"That was meant to represent the love for LGBTQ people in the cycling industry, which were never really put in sight," said Trudeau. "It's always been hard for those people to have the same chances in this industry, so it was a big step and a big occasion for us to be able to maybe win it with that bike and have a good message with it."

The custom welded heart rack on the front of the Memento Cycles ride was a hit at the Philly Bike Expo. (Philly Bike Expo)

For Memento, the message is important.

"Not everybody's going to like it, but that's not the point," said Jaramillo. "I think if everybody likes you, you're not being authentic, and for us, it was more important to be authentic and to maybe pass this message forward... We didn't really care how it would be received; we were just hoping that the right people would like it."

The Peoples Choice Award gold medal-winning bike 'The Heart' from Memento Cycles was designed and built in Montreal and proudly represents the trans colours. (Philly Bike Expo)

Broadening representation is at the heart of Memento Cycles.

"The bike industry has always been dominated by men in general," said Trudeau. "For years it's been hard for women frame-builders and people in the LGBTQ community to have the same chances in the industry in bike shows to actually be put up front."

High school best friends start building

Trudeau and Jaramillo have been best friends since high school.

While completing an engineering degree, Jaramillo had an idea for a business.

"I think I must have busted Eliane's ear so much because she came up with this idea of building cargo bikes," he said. "And I wanted to start a company where it would have an impact, not just like, build a startup company to have a company."

Best friends Ronny Perez Jaramillo and Eliane Trudeau founded Memento Cycles in 2021, and are already making a name for themselves in the industry. (CTV News)

The idea to build cargo bikes "felt like the perfect match" for the two friends, who had been bike messengers for over around a decade.

Cargo bikes involve a longer frame with a smaller front wheel which is closer to the ground, so it can carry more weight. They are being used more and more for deliveries, but also many parents use them to transport their children or do grocery or other types of shopping and avoid driving.

Cargo bikes, like the one designed and built by Memento Cycles, are becoming more popular as people are trying to look for ways to avoid driving and use active transport. (Philly Bike Expo)

For a city like Montreal, the potential to expand bike options is huge, Jaramillo said.

"With the infrastructure growing, I really felt like this could be like a next Amsterdam where people go mostly around by bikes," he said. "Every day I'm hoping like, we slowly inch by inch, get towards that." Top Stories

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