Have you seen a strange, long and large bike cruising the streets recently? Have you heard from your mates of a strange sighting involving Christmas themed cyclists and/or brightly-lit bike ravers?
Then most likely, you've spotted us.
For last years 'Fruity As F#9K' bike rave, we decided we wanted to create something extra special. With the shop's previous sound bike creation having the audio component sorted, our bike construction crew decided to create something bigger than ever.
This project was a collaboration between us and our good friend Anthony from Fabricon. Ants is a skilled engineer with a workshop in Gracefield who specialises in commercial and domestic bespoke metalwork to a very high standard. He welcomed our crew into his workshop and totally nailed it using some old discarded stainless steel handrails to create the iconic Dr Seussesque (can that be a word please) shape. In just two nights we had the basic structure tacked together, Ants and one of our dear customers, Bo Pierce, spent another two days completing the welds and refining the structure.
From there the bike went to our workshop for a custom set of incredibly strong wheels, drivetrain, disc brakes and custom steerer fitted by Ilya and Rich. Not to mention the super powerful cargo bike hub motor needed to push up to five passengers.
From there we took it to our storage space where the ply to form the base of the Chaise Longue was laminated and cured to form a custom fit and strong base for the upholstery.
Once this was done it came back to our workshop. We bought a sewing machine and Dan and Greg got their stitching skills honed to complete the chesterfield upholstery in Bicycle Junction red.
Then came the electrical work and dash panel. This bike is fitted with a disco ball and projector system, red under-lights, super powerful high beam front light, passenger reading light and flashing fairy lights all controlled from a missile switch and toggle dashboard in the stokers cockpit. All this powered by a Lithium battery seperate to the motor battery. Grants electrical skills came to the fore, masterfully wiring it together so everything is individually controllable at the flick of a switch. The lights even flash to the rhythm of the music. While this bike is a sight to see during the day, it literally shines at night!
The first time Anthony and Dan jumped on it to test if it was at all rideable was both frightening and joyful. It was such an incredible feeling to sit so high up at the front and navigate gigantic u-turns. They couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it.
This build was a truly collaborative effort between staff, customers and through the incredible talents of Anthony in making the structure balanced, strong and rideable. But it is not just collaborative in the sense of the build. While we could have fitted a throttle control to the front, we chose not to. In order to ride this bike you must have two people cooperating. One to pedal who can't steer, and one to steer who can't pedal. Communication is key to navigating tight bends, stops and starts ad passenger dismounts. There is a certain satisfaction to working together to make it rideable.
The Steerer calls out "Full Steam Ahead!" as we get going or "Quarter Steam!" as we navigate a tricky turn. We've also managed to master stopping at lights without dismounting as the stoker carefully balances the load.
One or two passengers can lie back and enjoy the couch. The bike has a small bar with liquid refreshments built into the curve of the couch.
Here's some documentation from start to finish of the build process and how it all went down. We'd love to see a few more crazy bikes out there this rave season. If you have your own napkin sketch, get in touch with us or Anthony and we'll see if we can help make it happen!
Main Photo Credit: Russell Kleyn
Here's the initial napkin sketch drawn over a cup of coffee with Ants and Dan at the shop:
The next step was to dismantle a Faraday bike, and weld on all the new frame tubing...
The Head tube had to be made in two joined pieces skilfully prepared by our very own mechanic Rich in Anthonys workshop.
Bo, Ants, Greg and Dan tacking together the overall form
Along with some necessary testing
And on to the trailer for some final touches
More quality control testing
Followed by the attachment of some laminated wooden panels for support (note the mini-bar gap)
And finally the addition of the iconic red cushioning, custom stitched in our own workshop.
Followed by the addition of much needed electric support to make this giant actually useable (by our electro-mechanical whiz Grant). Check out that switchboard!