Peoples’ first reaction to the Hoopy is one of intrigue. They don’t quite know what to make of it. They look and they stare and as they do so they become aware of many of the details that separate the Hoopy from ‘normal’ bikes. They notice the internal drive, which is a result of wanting to make the bicycle easier to build by creating a parallel frame in contrast to normal bikes whose rear stays splay out. It also provides an added bonus of no more ripped or greasy clothes! Plus it just looks better.
Once the restriction of a narrow bottom bracket has been eliminated, a whole new world of opportunity opens up for the designer. The box section plywood frame is immensely strong yet surprisingly light. Other advantages of the box section include a natural place to store tools, pumps, shopping, or whatever takes your fancy. The Hoopy is also an ideal candidate for conversion to an EV. No mudguards are required and the whole frame only weighs 3 kilos.
The Hoopy is a genuine ‘one size fits all’ bicycle. Taller riders simply sit further back on the seat (although the seat height can be changed during the build). Its low frame makes it easy to mount and dismount and it’s also possible to carry a passenger, or two if you put one of them on the wide crossbar!
The Hoopy is really pleasant to ride and very comfortable. There are no cables, just a back pedal brake. It can also be fitted with a two speed automatic hub giving making it surprisingly nifty. It’s well balanced and easy to ride ‘no handed’. PIts also very lightweight; a basic single speed version could weigh in at as little as 12 kilos.
But how eco-friendly is a wooden bicycle if it has be made from new parts and shipped to its final destination? With Woodenwidget’s unique step by step illustrated instructions, no printed templates need to be produced nor shipped.
Furthermore many of the Hoopy’s parts are reclaimed or can be bought secondhand locally cutting down on the Hoopy’s carbon footprint considerably. Even the plans themselves, although 130 pages long, are laid out to minimize paper waste when printed. To reduce still further what is already a small footprint, Woodenwidget plant five trees for every set of plans sold.
From the moment of conception, the Hoopy wooden bicycle has been designed to be built without the need of specialist tools or skills. This means that so long as you are relatively competent and not afraid to ‘have a go’, you should have little difficulty making your own Hoopy. What’s more there are many ways to personalise your Hoopy, from the plywood you choose, to the designs you create on the frame sides.
The Hoopy plans cost just £30 and can be instantly downloaded from woodenwidget.com. A basic model could be built at a cost of approximately £250, £100 of which is needed for a few parts and some special epoxy glue. Two sheets of 10 mm (or 3/8”) plywood 60 x 120 cm are required, the offcuts of which are used to make the remainder of the frame which eliminates waste.
Everything you need to know is covered in the plans, from selecting the wood to the modification of parts, from how to use epoxy to varnishing like a pro. The Hoopy might look complicated to build but in fact is surprisingly simple to make. The whole frame can be marked up, cut out and glued, ready for varnish is less than 20 hours. Depending on the quality of finish desired, a complete Hoopy will require a minimum of about 50 hours to build.
The Hoopy is the brainchild of Benjy, a wooden yacht restorer, as is Woodenwidget which was created to encourage people to have a go at making things with their own hands rather than just buying them. All the designs share the same concept; they are easy to build, are fun and practical, and taken care of, can last a lifetime.
To buy plans, or to learn more about the stylish Hoopy wooden bike, please visit woodenwidget.com