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My New Plycycle – a plywood bicycle

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

I like bicycles, I’m not a collector, but I do have a few of them. They get used whether it’s just riding around Melbourne – here’s a comparison of my three bicycles in that city. Or riding further afield, like trying out my new London bicycle with a little London-Paris trip. Now I’ve got a new bicycle to play with, a wooden one.

David Murphy made my TW-16 Plycycle – or DaMu Plycycle if you wish. TW because those are my initials, 16 because it’s the 16th iteration of his wooden bicycle development and Plycycle because that’s what it’s made of: Plywood.

IMG_7151 - Plycycle - 540▲ David and me with my almost finished Plycycle.

IMG_3994 - Plycycle Williamstown - 540▲ And here I am about to ride home (20km) with my finished bicycle.

IMG_7153 - plywood layers - 270◄ Some surprises about my Plycycle. First of all it’s surprisingly light, it weighs in at less than my everyday aluminium Wheeler mountain bike (the one I took to Africa few years ago) and less than a kilo heavier than my aluminium and carbon fibre Bianchi road bike. That’s because every layer of plywood was cut directly from its computer controlled design.

It’s a delight to ride, but might be rather faster if I didn’t spend so much time explaining about it to other interested cyclists.

IMG_7142 - it's a work of art - 540▲ The real surprise, however, is that it’s simply beautiful, a real work of art.

Looking back over my website I’m surprised how often bicycles pop up. I went temple visiting in Hampi, India by bicycle last year. Then there was a little bicycle ride with friends in the beautiful Transylvanian region of Romania. Or cycling in Italy, in China, in New York and, of course, my Tanzania and Malawi stage of the Tour d’Afrique. I’ve even discovered some family cycling history when I stumbled upon my grandfather’s First World War bicycling.

IMG_7151 - Plycycle - 540

My New Plycycle – a plywood bicycle

22 February 2017 | Transport

I like bicycles, I’m not a collector, but I do have a few of them. They get used whether it’s just riding around Melbourne – here’s a comparison of my three bicycles in that city. Or riding further afield, like trying out my new London bicycle with a little London-Par...

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Lake Eyre

7 February 2017 | Media

Lake Eyre – A Journey through the Heart of the Continent – by Paul Lockyer is an ABC coffee table booking which sums up with interesting text and fantastic photos this weirdly wonderful Australian lake. It’s Australia’s largest lake and the fifth largest ‘terminal’ la...

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IMG_2610 - crossing the river to Banjul - 540

Small run in with tinpot dictator

29 January 2017 | Culture

Back on 1 December 2016 Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s president ‘for a billion years,’ lost an election and surprised much of the world when he said he’d accept the result and walk. Shortly after, to nobody’s surprise, he didn’t depart at all, but finally on 21 January 2017 ...

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IMG_2185 - US dollars - 270

Money – cash, digital, demonetized, photographed

21 December 2016 | Living

I blogged recently about the 10,000 worthless Indian rupees I’d found myself stuck with after a recent visit to India. After the Indian government demonetized their 1000 and 500 rupee notes – their two biggest banknotes, worth US$14.60 and US$7.30, respectively...

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Gliders in Ghizo

Unpresidented, Unprecedented, Stolen Underwater Gliders

19 December 2016 | Living

The press has been full of stories about the US Navy research ‘underwater glider’ (although it was often referred to as an ‘underwater drone’) which the Chinese snatched out of the water and refused – for awhile at least – to hand back. Donald Trump announced it was a...

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IMG_1644 - king,  Apedemak Temple at Musawarat - 540

Sudan – pryamids, desert & not many visitors

5 December 2016 | Places

I’ve been rather slow in posting on my travels this year, I’ll try and catch up before the end of 2016, starting with a recent week in Sudan. I started and finished in Khartoum, the capital city, and travelled around North Sudan in between. ▲ Getting a visa can be ...

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IMG_2132 - useless Indian rupees - 540

Useless Indian Money – Voodoo Economics

4 December 2016 | Living

There’s 10,000 useless Indian rupees, about US$150 in real money. ▼ I wouldn’t normally have any Indian currency around. Euros or US dollars fine, I’m back in both regions regularly and anyway they can be used in lots of places other than the euro zone or the U...

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IMG_1375 - Supermoon, Bay Bridge - 540jpg

The US Election … too soon to tell?

18 November 2016 | Living

I flew from London to San Francisco on Tuesday 8 November, so I’d be there for the US election. I’ll always be disappointed that I wasn’t in Berlin when the wall came down (9 November 1989) and perhaps this would be another of those world changing events and it would ...

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Berlin - leaping the wall

Be There or Be Square

31 October 2016 | Culture

I wish I’d been in Berlin on 9 November 1989 to see the wall come down. I finally got there on 21 October 1991, nearly two years later, and totally because a collection of my German Berlin friends had all insisted I had to see Berlin before it was changed forever. At ...

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IMG_0612 - Tata Nano in Ratnagiri - 540

Cars in India, Cars in Hong Kong – Nanos & Tesla

15 October 2016 | Transport

▲ Tata Nano in Ratnagiri The Tata Nano launched in India in 2008 with the aim of being the world’s most affordable car. The tiny two cylinder 624 cc vehicle was going to get people off their family motorcycles (typically carrying husband, wife and several children)...

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