Arboreal Roundup: More Wood for Your Bike
After a century-long hiatus, wood has been making quite the comeback as a material for bicycles and bicycle bits. And I can see why – adding a dash of wood changes the entire character of a bicycle like little else can. Check out these three artisans offering totally unique handmade wooden components.
First up is WOTZ out of Arezzo Italy, which is the first company that I know of to offer an entirely wooden-bodied pedal. The one pictured above really embodies the term “four-sided pedal effect.” I thought this was a strange idea at first, but then I remembered that these come from Italy. My father once told me that Italian shoes are “the most beautiful and uncomfortable shoes in the world,” so perhaps such shoes should be matched to a pedal of the same description. But maybe there’s more to it than that. Italy is a land of neglected bicycles and on visits there I saw a lot of people riding around on nothing but the pedal axles. This actually seemed like it a good pedal profile for people riding around in shoes with a heel. The pedal axle sits securely in front of the heel, and by pedaling through the arch of the foot you get to run your seat just a bit lower as well. I commute in SPD’s, but if I had to show up to work wearing dressy shoes, these pedals might be just the thing.
Mill on past the break for lots more wood.
If you’d prefer a pedal with only two sides, Wotz offers this more conventional pedal, the shape of which “is organic and sinuous due to a detailed digital and graphic research.” Both pedals are cut from beech wood, and although there are no published weights, WOTZ states that “the main feature is (their) lightness.” By that they might mean a sort of ethereal or visual lightness, which the pedals certainly have. As a bonus, the box they come in (which was “designed on purpose”) attaches to either the “vertical or horizontal bike’s bar” to carry snacks, tools, or whatever pedal-sized things you wish. You can pick up a pair of WOTZ pedals at their etsy store for $235.71.
Next up is Tony’s reCycles which makes handcrafted wooden fenders in Serbia. There are a number of options available for wooden fenders these days, but Tony’s pyrographic artistry really sets his apart from the rest. Pyrography, in case you don’t know, is essentially the practice of burning images into wood, and Tony offers fenders in an assortment of his own designs as well as the option to go fully custom. If you choose the latter you have many decisions to make: 10 different woods, 6 different widths, matte or gloss finish, and seemingly any pyrography design you can imagine. The fenders are mounted with stainless hardware and are protected with multiple layers of marine grade polyurethane.
Prices for off-the-shelf designs range from 50 to 100 euros ($69.31-$138.62 at time of writing), with some designs (including my favorite, the Pac Man) offered at an introductory celebratory price of 45 euros ($62.38).
If that’s not enough wood for you then consider Sykes Wood Fenders out of Portland Oregon. Sykes has been around for some time, and you may have seen his fenders adorning a NAHBS bike or two in the past. He recently teamed up with his shopmate MapleXO, who specializes in making all sorts of goodies out of recycled skateboards to bring you… fenders made from recycled skateboards.
Other unique Sykes offerings include wooden bob tail fenders and wooden water bottle cages. All are available in a choice of nine different woods, which can be a bit overwhelming but not to worry – Sykes has a neat guide to picking just the right wood to compliment your Brooks saddle.