Homeless in Vancouver: Mystery of the wooden bicycle

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      Wooden bicycles are rare but not unheard of. There are bamboo-framed bikes, which are cool and there are the SanoMagic bikes made by Japanese boat builder Sueshiro Sano, almost completely from mahogany—frame, seat, wheel rims. Those are nothing short of a revelation.

      On the other hand, the wooden bicycle pictured above, which is somewhere in Vancouver, is a complete mystery to me.

      I’ve only seen the photo, which was taken by my friend Murray with his phone last week. I believe he took it somewhere along Commercial Drive, during a work-related swing through East Vancouver.

      So I can’t say whether it’s a bespoke home-build or a commercial product. Your guess is as good, if not better, than mine.

      The bike Ikea would make if Ikea made wood bikes

      The frame appears to be made mostly out of thick sheet wood cut out using a jigsaw, the exceptions being the front forks, the steering column, and handlebars, as well as the  axles, drive train, seat-post, and seat.

      It’s nicely finished and made to be a light-duty neighbourhood bicycle (I’m pretty sure the frame would snap from side-to-side twisting with heavier use).

      The fat, cushy seat and seeming one-speed transmission say cruiser, and the cup holder and what appears to be a built-in audio system (front-mounted speakers) say hipster.

      The less said about the way it's locked up, the better. 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.


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      Al Roback

      Jun 24, 2014 at 8:43pm

      If you are looking for a bamboo bike, don't forget your local connection: Made in Vancouver: Grass Frames www.grassframes.ca


      Jun 24, 2014 at 11:28pm

      Bespoke home build or not-it looks great.

      It won't last long on the Drive or anywhere else with that flimsy lock.....


      Jun 25, 2014 at 11:09am

      Could be the beginning of art bikes meant to be seen and not ridden....

      Is it a wooden frame, or...

      Jun 28, 2014 at 8:12pm

      is it a wooden sheath around a regular frame?

      The bolts holding the wooden parts together seem spaced to fit around an inner metal frame, and there *appears* to be a top rail.

      Pretty cool either way.

      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Jun 30, 2014 at 12:54am

      @wooden frame...

      Wish Murray had taken more than one photo. Darn him.

      If there was a full tube frame hiding under a wooden sheath I would expect to see some of the tube frame holding the back wheel, the diagonal seat stays and horizontal chain stays, particularly the latter but I don't think they are present. And I think what may look like a top tube may be a cable. But...

      Woody Wall

      Aug 12, 2014 at 10:05am

      Ask the guys at Windsor Plywood in Burnaby - they can tell you who makes these!