John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The snazzy, customizable ride was designed by a Mediterranean boat restorer.
The loops and circles on Hoopy’s elaborate, almost-Baroque frame might look carved in a CNC machine, but it’s all craft you do yourself in the studio or garage. To get started, buy the online plans from Wooden Widget, a site run by a yacht restorer named Benjy who lives in the Mediterranean. They’re in metric and number more than 130 pages, but allegedly can be completed by anyone with basic woodworking knowledge, a jigsaw, and a plane.
Here’s more from Wooden Widget:
It's very comfortable and nice to ride with a surprising turn of speed. Its low frame makes it very easy to get on and off and the strong yet light box section plywood frame allows for an internal drive system, so no more greasy clothes. No mudguards are needed and the frame can be used for storing tools, spares or shopping. The Hoopy would be ideal for conversion to electric with the batteries and motor easily housed in the frame. The design is highly adaptable and allows for much personalisation.
Cutting and gluing the 6.5-pound frame takes a couple days; adding varnish and customized parts makes the entire process last roughly 50 hours. The bike’s creator says most of the items “needed to build a Hoopy are easily available secondhand or can be salvaged from old bikes” for a total price of about $330. Depending on what you add—automatic shifter, wooden headlight—the one-or-two-speed cycle will weigh around 26 pounds, comparable to a standard metal hybrid.
The Hoopy can accommodate two people for a max load of 440 pounds. Just don’t ride it through a wildfire, lest your classy ride become a two-wheeled, flaming missile.
Hoopy plans, £30 (about $40) at Wooden Widget.