Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer of Bikes, 2011

Among the things I'm most excited about right now is my Summer Bike Project.

Years ago, I built a bike, when I was in architecture school.  It was for a summer object making class, and it was the first time I made anything substantive out of steel.  They picked my bike for the postcard advertising the exhibition. (I hasten to point out whenever I show it that I did not design the postcard itself, just the bike.)

Here are some closeup details.  I was especially happy with how the chain-drive steering turned out.

The steering wheel:

The seat itself came from a kid's trike:

We did a lot of scavenging that summer.  Most of the bearings and other components were cut off of junk bikes we found or bought cheap from thrift stores.

For my bike(s) this summer, I have found some good resources online for bearings and other components, and I don't plan on doing any bike-part-scavenging.  The website I'm looking at the most, as I work through my designs, is BicycleDesigner.com.  They seem to have just about everything in the way of bike parts, and lots of helpful diagrams.  I'll also hit up some local bike shops once I'm closer to starting, and see what they have in stock for components.  It's always good to have relationships with helpful local experts when you have technical questions about a project.  Also, returning/exchanging parts that don't turn out to be quite the right thing is waaaay easier when you're dealing locally.

The new designs I'm working on have a pretty clear relationship to my original bike: I'm keeping the smaller rear wheel and chain-drive steering concepts for now (although for one of the bikes I'm sketching, I'm attempting to simplify things by using conventional steering.)  Things are still developing, but I should have some pics to show in the next few days.

Also, I'm in talks with a couple of friends in an attempt to persuade them to make bikes along with me, and then put together some kind of exhibition at the end of the summer.

Stay tuned!

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