CEDARVILLE, Ohio — Biking has become exceedingly popular over the last year since many people had to find new activities outdoors to stay safe and socially distant, and it’s led to a shortage of bikes. But one Jay Kinsinger, a professor at Cedarville University, is scrapping the typical metal frames to try something different.
What You Need To Know
- Jay Kinsinger started making wood bicycles several years ago
- Each frame takes him 50-60 hours of his time, between calculating the frame size, sanding it and coating it
- Kinsinger is also an engineering professor at Cedarville University and uses his love of teaching to teach other how to make wood bikes through his workshops
- A custom wooden bike frame starts at $3,500
Kinsinger decided several years ago that he would start making wood bikes, combining his love for cycling, wood-working, engineering and teaching. But it's a very tedious process
“I think I got it down to maybe 100 hours for a frame by hand and now they’re somewhere between 50-60 hours," Kinsinger said.
Kinsinger started making wood bikes several years ago after a colleague at Cedarville University showed him a picture of a wooden bike.
“That was it," he said. "I was gone then! I had to try that myself.”
Kinsinger was hooked and that’s when Sojourn Cyclery was born. At first, he made the frames by hand, but now uses Cedarville’s computer numeric control machine to build out the frame before sanding it and then coating it — his favorite part in the process.
“This is just really a thrill," he said. "It’s kind of the big reveal you know to see that grain to just explode."
He uses local black walnut to construct his bikes which all start out as large pieces of wood. And while wood can’t compete with how light-weight carbon-fiber frames are, they sure make for a smooth ride.
“The wood absorbs the road vibration, so it’s a real smooth and quiet ride," Kinsinger said.
He said making these bikes marries all of his passions together.
“I’ve been an avid cyclist for a long time and a wood worker, you know building cabinets and furniture," he said. "But then, I’m able to put these two passions together with he wooden frames as well as teaching.”
Before the pandemic, Kinsinger hosted bike-making workshops, teaching the process of how to make a wooden bike frame. He's hopeful to get back to teaching them again.
Kinsinger's custom wood frames start at $3,500, but the price is reduced to $2,000 if you build your own bike in a workshop.