Bent ply bike seat


I made a wooden push bike for my daughter last year, but I kept the seat very simple, using just a small piece of flat plywood. I wanted something nicer but I was low on time, and she was still too little to ride it, so I figured it was better than nothing.

Fast forward one year and she is eager to learn how to ride and a new seat was needed. I’ve been keen to learn some bent ply techniques, so I thought this seat would be a good small project to start on. The seat is made of three layers of 3mm Baltic birch which I sandwich between a wooden form in a large vice. Layers were glued together using epoxy, and the final shape was cut out on a bandsaw. I’m really pleased with how it worked out, next step would be to cover it with some type of padding, but the neoprene I want to use is packed away in a box with the rest of my things and might not be found till next spring…


Photo Friday

Holga eh? Sure why not.  While I whine about the thousands of pictures I still have to go through from last year, I didn’t go through any this week.  I’d love to say I was all wrapped up in some incredible new endeavour, but honestly I’d have to say it was more due to laziness.


Anyhow, can’t go wrong with a picture of bike now can you?  Not sure why but I love bike pictures, probably should move to Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but until then I’ll just drool over my pictures.  Taken with my Holga on some type of colour film, quite likely Kodak VC160.

52 Create – Wooden Push Bike

52 Create – my weekly creative output for 2011…  This week has flown by! Hence the reason my Tuesday post is appearing on a Friday.  Well with the wealth of cutting boards and rifle stocks as of late, I thought I should mix things up and go big.  This week’s creative output is a kids wooden push bike (also called a run bike or balance bike).  These seem to be all the rage lately and you can spend as much as $300 on a designer model.  They are basically a kids bike without pedals, so they use their feet to push themselves along, apparently it teaches the kids excellent balance and helps them to more easily progress to a real bike without training wheels.

There are suprisingly few diy wooden bikes on the net.  There is one how-to with plans out there, but that seemed far too easy for me.  So I look at a ton of pictures of these bikes on google images and sketched out my own design.  As usual, the wheels were the tricky part.  While you can buy a brand new kids bike for $30, to buy a pair of wheels/tires/tubes will run you $90!!!  I found this set at a used bike shop for $20 total, they don’t match, but my 21 month old daughter couldn’t care less…  The frame is made from my favourite – baltic birch (1/2″) with a wodden dowel for handle bars.  I’ve had many comments about the small seat and lack of padding, but my daughter is still in diapers so she has her own “built-in” padding.  I’ll cover it with some neoprene when she is older.


After about a week of use, she is quite comfortable on it, and can go short distances on her own.  I think she’s likely a bit young for it, but she goes nuts every time she sees a bike anywhere, so I figured I owed it to her…


My other 52 Create Projects



Photo of the Week

Hot off the scanner….  Still working my way through last year’s European adventure, developed another two rolls the other day and just scanned them in this evening.  This shot is from Amsterdam, a biker flying over one of the many bridges.  A nice slow shutter speed gave me a little motion blur in the biker while still enabling a sharp foreground.  The brick pattern really makes this image (in contrast with the blurred biker).

Taken with my Voigtlander Bessa R, and I think my 15mm Heliar due to the great depth of field, but I could be wrong.  Film used was Fuji Neopan 400, I took a lot of Tri-X near the end of our adventure, and looking back at the two films, I still prefer Neopan, will have to stock up before our next trip.

Put up a collection of photos on Etsy as well, will be updating my store more frequently in the coming weeks.

Of Bicycles and Amsterdam

Back from travelling and a ton of pictures to sort through.  After a couple of weeks in both Amsterdam and Berlin, I have many rolls to develop, would have been even more but there was a fair amount of rain that made picture taking a little less enjoyable.  Berlin was incredibly dark and overcast, that combined with the early sunsets meant not a lot of light in general.

Anyways, in Amsterdam everyone rides bikes, I was truly jealous not to live somewhere where this is the culture. The one thing that really stood out for me were the bikes seen above that could carry loads!  During the week I was there I saw variations of this bike carrying everything from kids, to lumber (sheets of plywood) to a couch (two seater love seat, yes I’m serious).  These seem like such a great idea as you can haul your kids as well as your groceries, and your precious cargo is right in front of you unlike in a chariot type trailer.

Check out their website.

L’Eroica Italian Retro Bike Race

Originally started in 1997 to help save Italy’s “strada blanche” roads (white gravel), the L’Eroica bike race is a return to the old days of cycling.  Riders who compete must do so on bikes from 1987 or before, woollen jerseys are a must, and of course leather caps and shoes.  There’s no support cars, and the race food is more akin to an Italian feast than a bike race.


Riders can compete in distances ranging from 38 to 202km.  Anyone finishing the longest distance in under 12 hours gets a prize (it’s just that tough).  Over 3000 people compete in these races each October, the majority from Italy, but interest is growing round the world each year.


via Guardian

Bicycle Hotel – Amsterdam

We’re planning a November trip to Amsterdam and came across this great little hotel. The Bicycle Hotel is designed for those seeking cheap comfortable rooms with an eco slant.  They have solar power and offer free bike parking as well as very affordable rentals (7 euros/day).  Rooms are pretty cheap and include breakfast, what more could you ask for?  Would love to see more North American hotels cater more to the bike crowds.

bone-shaker magazine

I was over on Howies browsing their new fall line of stuff the other day.  Tons of great stuff but unfortunately they discontinued the jacket I’d been wanting.  My “Work Hard – Canoe Home” t-shirt will always be my favourite, although I may need to ad to my collection when I head to London in September.

Anyways, while on their site, I stumbled upon bone-shaker magazine.  To quote their own website, it’s “a celebration of cycling and the people who do it.”  It’s a wonderful magazine with some amazing pictures and artwork.  The magazine is now in it’s second edition and is shipping to stores across the world.  The magazine is ad free which is always a bonus!

I’ll be picking up a copy at Howies and I hope to have some of my photos in their upcoming edition.

SoBi – Social Bicycles

Being in Paris, I can’t help but love the Velibs.  These bikes are meant to be shared by all, with docking stations scattered across Paris so that there is always a bike near you, or a place to drop them off when you require it.  The one downfall of the Velib is that you need the stations for pick up and drop off, which besides the upfront cost of construction, also require electricity, and you the consumer can never be sure there will be a bike available at your local depot, or a place to drop your current bike off when you are finished.

That’s where Social Bicycles has made some vast improvements on the system.  Each bike is outfitted with a GPS transmitter that is activated when the bike is locked up and not in use.  You find the bike by logging on with your iphone.  Billing and such can now all be automatic, and in theory the company could keep much better records of how much use a particular bike gets used (and say when to apply some oil, or replace the tires).  When you’re done riding, you simply lock it up to the nearest bike rack, fence or lamp post.  Pure genius.

via Engadget

source Social Bicycles

Photo of the Week

Well, keeping with the endless bike theme (and to think last week was all photography…), here is a photo from the Tour de France as it passed through Antwerp.  I set the shutter speed quite slow so that I could get most of the bikes blurred, then I panned while shooting, which got me a few cyclists in still motion, while the rest of the pack and the background has motion blur.  Taken with my D300.