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During Maker Faire, people of all stripes were riding these crazy junkcycles around. I took a moment to speak with Tom Kabat, their creator on Sunday.


Tom and his bikes
were a mainstay of Bike Town, an area of Maker Faire that featured many bike builders and their projects.

A former serious cyclist who still loves bikes. An engineer, 30 year bike commuter and bike tourer (Trans America 1976), Tom was inspired to build bikes after seeing other great home built pedal machines at Kinetic Sculpture races and a wide variety of antique bikes on display in museums. He says, “I enjoy Maker Faire as a festival of inspiration and idea exchange.”

On his site, he shows many of the bikes that he has made over the years and explains some of how and why they were built:

My epiphany came when was trying to make a large castor wheel for a parade float. I drilled a hole in a scrap of redwood 4×6 lumber and mounted an old Campagnolo bike headset in it. I installed an old bike fork through it and attaching a wheel to make a BIG castor wheel. But many other possibilities emerged. I was also immediately captivated by the incongruous look of an old piece of lumber sporting a fine headset and supporting a fork and wheel.

You might check out Wooden Bikes on Instructables, where there are lots of tips on how to recreate some of these hand crafted vehicles, like the Wooden Wedge.

You can build unusual and useful wood bikes without welding.
I think wood bikes should become poplar again. :-)
This is a simple one speed wooden bike with coaster brake, fits everyone from little kids to TALL adults. There are no metal tubes in the frame.
Wooden’ you build with wood if you couldn’ weld? I wood.

It’s got a 4″ Razor scooter front wheel, so it’s only safe on smooth roads without potholes or bumps.
Bike is designed so there is not much weight on front wheel. Bigger riders have center of gravity closer to back wheel.

WoodenBikes captured a lot of people’s attention at Maker Faire. Kids rode them around, adults tried them out, and many people had their eyes opened about how they could take back bicycle design.

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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