13 May 2010

Build your own

This spring I was fortunate to be able to attend NAHBS (North American Handmade Bicycle Show) in Richmond VA. Amongst the hordes of beautiful steel bikes I lusted over, there were a number of interesting wooden bikes. Most notably, bamboo creations from Calfee and Boo Bicycles.

The intricately laminated Sylvan frames also caught my attention. Their attention to detail in the laminated and octagon mitered tubes was really quite beautiful.

I've always been appreciative of the labor that goes into a fine piece of woodwork. My dad is a self-taught woodworker and is quite talented. As for myself, I've just never been good at it -- I guess it skips a generation.

All these wooden bikes triggered something in my memory -- somewhere around the house, I have an old magazine article from the 1940's that details how to build your own bike from wood. Apparently, steel tubing was tough to get during World War II and many bicycle companies ceased production.

The picture above is the cover page for the 4 page article. I'll applaud the plans for their simplicity. You'll have to scavenge some parts (wheels, cranks, handlebars, seat), but the rest of the materials are something any farmer or competent tinkerer would have around the shop.

You can view and download high resolution copies of the 4 page article here.

Itching to build your own wooden bike but afraid to build and ride the death-trap in the plans above (I sure am)? The current issue of Urban Velo Magazine has an interesting article on the Bamboo Bike Studio in Brooklyn -- you can read the full article on Urban Velo's site.

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