Street bikes from Panama. They are called priti baiks. The term priti means both "pretty" and also ingenious, or striking.
The photographs are taken by Jose Castrellon, who spent time hanging around this subculture of hot rodders. Except these guys are too poor to own a car so they soup up their bikes. Note the air horns, normally found on trucks.
His web site says, "Priti Baiks is a series of portraits of men who display tons of creative ingenuity and dedicated a good amount of their meager resources to decorate and equip their humble bicycles."
In much of the developing world, bike technology is significant mobile technology. Bikes are transportation, and offices and shops and stores. The folks at Velowala -- velo for "moving" as in velocity and wala for "man" as in the Hindi -- collect examples of people using bicycle technology on the streets of India. This wala sells churan, tangy snacks and digestive pills. Many more examples here.
Unlike the wooden bikes I posted about previously in Street Use, this wooden bike is unusual because it employs a pedal. It is made by the Cameroon wood sculptor Jules Bassong who normally makes effagies out of wood. He is riding his wooden bike on a tour of Cameroon. As reported by Walter Nana in Africa News:
“There is the break mechanism, if not I wouldn’t have been able to go down the steep slopes found along the Dschang road in the West Province of Cameroon,” Bassong noted.
When I saw a photo of this I thought it must have been photoshopped. But here's a video:
Anti-terrorist demonstration in Jinan, China. (BigPicture)
When the lovable Segway was unveiled, who would have guessed that its chief street use would be a platform for cops and soldiers. Here's Paul Saffo on the phenomenon:
It is always fascinating to see once-cuddly technologies turn dark. Consider the Segway, that sweetly geeky gizmo that was supposed to drive autos out of our cities and save the planet. Well, Segways have arrived, but instead of transporting happy auto-eschewing citizens on their daily errands, the Segway has become the personal chariot of cops adopting the gyro-stabilized two-wheeler for patrol and crowd control work. Seqway-riding security dudes are turning up at airports and convention centers, and now are finding their way into the security mix at lock-down events like the G8 Summit and the upcoming Beijing Olympics. No cuddly here, just pure menace, like the rent-a-samurai in full battle rattle riding a nobby-tired industrial Segway at the this month's G8 summit (pic below). Watching the transformation is like discovering that one's favorite teddy bear has fangs and a taste for human flesh. Before long, I'll bet we'll see squads of Segway cops in full riot gear running down fleeing demonstrators at some future anti-globalization demonstration.
Some of the pics Saffo has collected and captioned:
The G8's rent-a-samurai and his timid sidekick.
I wonder how the Segway handles recoil? (Flickr)
The Ventura county sheriff's gyro-bomb squad. (Segway)
A Segway with training wheels for the vertically challenged.
Last one to the Dunkin' Donuts is a rotten egg!
And a few others:
In Mexico City (Jason)
You need a good belt. (Wilisms)
Nice off-road tires at Yale University (Yale)
Wooden bicycles can be found all over the world. These handmade bikes are often larger-scale scooters that you sit on. Made with whatever wood can be found, they use small wooden home-made wheels covered with discarded rubber rims. Forward movement depends on the rider pushing with their feet.
These wooden bicycles are ridden in the Banaue region of the Philippines. During an annual festival celebrating the culture of the regional tribes, wooden bikes are raced by participants in native costume. Notice the cool foot-activated brakes. These photos are from the Flickr pool of Harry Palangchao.
This kid bike is also found in the Philippines. This one too has a foot-actuated drag brake.
The ones above are found in Burundi and were taken by Will Okun. These wooden bike scooters are used to haul cargo. Pushed up hill and then ridden down.
Same idea in Ruhengeri, Rwanda. From Peter Strong at Camelworld.
Wooden bike-truck in Goma, Republic of Congo.
This one was found in Gikongoro, Rwanda and photographed by Louise Batalla-Duran for Wandering Spirit Travel Images.
Kids made their own bike in Tanzania. Note the yellow plastic "headlight." From Wooden Bicycles in East Africa.
In Rwanda this farmer uses his wooden bike to haul lumber. Turns out there is a wonderful non-profit set up to help spread the technology and use of simple load-bearing bikes. The Coffee Bike Project will donate rugged metal bikes to coffee farmers in Rwanda to aid them in getting their beans to market.
The students at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands created a 2.5 metric ton bike bus that has 32 seats. Each rider can pedal. From S. Fridqvist.
I found this on Otherthings Flickr page. It a multilayered paint chip taken from a public mural wall that was recently demolished.
This is an extreme closeup scan (2400 dpi) of a paint chip retrieved from the ruins of Belmont Art Park by Amy McKenzie earlier this year. The fragment is about 1cm thick, and appears to consist of about 150-200 layers of paint. (For a sense of scale, note the ridges of my fingerprint in the lower right.) This should give you an idea of the staggering number of pieces painted in this spot over the decades. The park used to be surrounded by one long wall covered with artwork, but that wall was illegally demolished by real estate developers earlier this year.
This last one is properly called a Monowheel. It was built by David Southall. He says:
The wheel itself is a 5 foot diameter hoop of 2 inch tube. It was a bit beyond what I can do so was made for me by The Angle Ring Company . The pulleys on which it runs were custom-made by AED rollers. Everything else was cut, bent and welded in my shed! The engine is a 90cc four stroke from a Chinese quad bike. I was initially going to use the engine/wheel unit from a 50cc scooter but the wheel was too big and the two stroke power delivery can be a bit peaky! The quad engine is fully auto with electric start. The friction drive wheel is the rear wheel from a mini moto. It has a cable-operated disc brake which must be used with extreme caution. The tyre on the outer wheel is three 24 inch mountain bike tyres cut up and pop riveted on.
There are plenty more from a whole web site devoted to monowheels.
Over at Treehugger, Warren McLaren has rounded up all the examples of this ingenious, indigenous, "labor-saving" invention that he could find.
It is apparent that thousands of people who have to mow the lawn decided there must be an easier way and had exactly the same idea: Why not hook the mower to a bike? And so the bikemower is born in a thousand of garages around the country. Judging from the pictures, they are still in the garages. Most of the pics rounded up by McLaren look as if they were taken at garage sales. I have my doubts that the bike mower is very useful, or easier to use than pushing on your feet.
For the full set see the Treehuger post above.
In Uganda, Ken Banks found this ingenious mobile phone booth. He wrote up the caption and posted his picture to Afrigadget, one of my favorite street use sites. His report:
I met this phone operator off Kampala Road this afternoon, who was riding round on this bike. Luckily he was a fellow Liverpool supporter so we hit it off straight away – and he let me take a photo of his BodaPhone setup. Pretty neat, and with a spare battery to allow him to stay on the road longer. Uganda is really hotting up on the mobile front, with two new operators about to enter the market towards the end of the year.
Ken translates the price as 200 Ugandan Shillings per unit is equivalent to about 11 cents US.
Street Use reader Michael Carnassus, who has lived in Korea for 5 years, sent these snapshots and report:
These motor bikes (motorcycles in US English) and bicycles are used to transport stuff around Dong Dae Mun Market in Seoul. I love the way that the people in the market have this fiercely independent spirit of free enterprise but also have these complicated symbiotic relationships with one other. These bikes are the grease that make the market smooth, you see them ferrying ridiculously big loads for 500 metres or so to where the products are needed.
Note the carefully street modded/welded carrying beds with 90 degree load supports. I've seen fridges, washing machines and dish washers carried on these things without trouble, even the bicycles. Note the extended rear swing arms with twin suspension coils/springs.
Only the rear suspension is modded usually, however. Look closely at the bike that has a pale blue fuel tank and is stretched out. I actually offered to buy it. That thing is so heavily modded it's ridiculous, it's about 100 cc but the engine is obviously not original. NOTHING is original!! The reason I wanted it was for the McGuyver cool of it all. I was gonna ship it home and just love it. The old dude who owns it got me drunk on cloudy rice wine this afternoon (it was a crappy rainy day) and it's his life. He loves the thing and so do I. I have an appointment to ride it happily enough!
I'm a keen cyclist and motorcyclist and I have to give respect to the guys who ride the rickety contraptions in that market, it can't be easy moving all that crap on your back!
Lawn mower motors have long been appropriated for such venacular vehicles as go-karts and even bikes. Now there are weed-wacker powered bikes, and here a chain saw powered bicycle. If you want to make your own there's some very fine instructions for the project on the Instructables site.
A guy named Chris sent this image and caption to Makezine. Looks like the solar panel flips back so you can drive it, though it must be sensitive to wind gusts.
"I just took this pic as I was walking down the street here in Palo Alto. This Maker has built an electric 3-wheel transport device, and he/she is charging it as it sits parked in the street! I don't know who it is...."
Bikes are pretty easy and very rewarding to modify on the street. Here's two very invention street modifications from Australia. They were found by Wade Hatler. He writes on his travelog: "I took off for a six-month bicycle tour two years ago and never quite managed to go back home." Along his travels on the backroads of Australia he spied these two remarkable bikes.
"Why would someone build a homemade trike you ask? Well, because trikes have some compelling advantages, but commercially built trikes are pretty expensive. Someone with some skill in the machine shop can take a couple of old bicycles and make a nice stable, comfortable commuting vehicle with practically zero expense. The one [below] here has an actual office chair as the seat. You can see he hauls his daughter around on the trike, and life is good. Front wheels are simply the front steering assembly and part of the frame from a diamond frame bicycle. A crossbar hooks them together, and to the frame that holds the foot cranks and pedals. A small tie-rod connects the front two tires together, and steering is just a chunk of the original handlebars. You don't get a blisteringly fast performing trike with Ackerman steering in this fashion, but you can get a good, solid, dependable, environmentally friendly vehicle for just about free."
"This invention [below] is called the BiQuadly. It's a four wheel, fully independent suspension, two wheel drive, multi-speed rig that's powered by both the arms and the feet. I've never seen anything quite like it. It's all a handmade prototype: Basically, you power the bike by cranking the pedals, which go through a conventional bike's derailer to a jackshaft, which then goes back to each of the rear wheels. The two hand levers you see move in both the back to front and the left to right planes. In the back to front direction, they hook to a crankshaft. Once you get going, you can crank back and forth on the hand levers, and it applies power from your arms onto the pedals to assist your legs. In the left to right direction, the handles are hooked to the steering, and they make the front tires turn to steer."
"Here's an electric scooter I spotted on the beach in Santa Monica," writes Brian Lauas. "Apparently modified for increased range with 2 monstrous car batteries strapped on. Transportation for the Post Apocalypse generation. Sweet."
Sculpturer Eric Peltzer has built his own electric mountain bike using a huge go-kart motor. He writes on his blog: "The reason for this powerful a motor is simple: hills. I live on a steep hill. While a Zap or a US ProDrive rated at 400 watts goes a decent 17 mph on flat land, they slow to 3 to 5 mph on a decent hill. I can pedal that fast. However I wanted to go faster and be able to get up a hill. The simple fact is that you need from 5 to 10 times as much power to go a given speed on a decent grade. This is why a car that only needs 12 hp to go 60 mph on flat roads has an engine that can put out 100 to 200 hp."
Jonathan Schreiber writes: Thought you might enjoy this bike-related street use that Justin found as we were walking from our offices to lunch in Sausalito (CA). A CHP Bike cop was getting a sandwich inside Golden Gate market. This what he used as his bike lock.
From the ever-amazing Jan Chipchase collection of street use documents comes this cool instance of a bull horn mounted on a tricycle. Used to lead a funeral in New Delhi, India.
There is no end to the modifications of bicycles. The most economically important alterations though are the many ways in which mobile resturants and stores are created from bike technology, or to be more exact trike technology. The three wheeler is very stable and easy to maneuver.
You can ride your store to the corner of the park and sell fruit and drinks. Note the cool awning.
You can haul a lot of stuff to your corner, including ice chests, burners, supplies and an umbrella.