Materials Used

As will be clear if you have read the earlier pages, there is no sponsorship in place for this project, and the three builders all have garages filled with bits and pieces accumulated over the years which "might come in handy" sometime. However, for Narnia the materials were a bit more specific. As is often the case, once a need arises a solution appears almost by magic. In this case the magic involved a lot of effort dismantling a large old Victorian wardrobe which had to be cleared from a house prior to its sale.

Some of the timber was beautiful while some was less so as it was out of sight and out of mind. All was carted back to Nick's garage where it was sorted, nails and screws removed and put in order, but there was a lot of it!

The design process had led to the use of thick broomsticks to make the front forks and sundry other bits.

So with a wardrobe and witch style broomsticks the project name of Narnia just had to be! In deference to C S Lewis it was agreed they should put lion's head transfers on the bike somewhere to complete the trinity, as these would only be decorative and not enhance the strength of any of the materials, thus staying within the rules!

Getting hold of thin plywood was not so straightforward, mainly as it was to be only 1.6mm thick! An order placed with a local timber merchant for two five foot square sheets took some time to be fulfilled, mainly apparently as customs clearance caused a hold-up, or that is what they were told.

The wheel rims were made from laminated oak strips. These were sliced from off cuts left after oak cladding had been applied to a friend's house and were tough enough to blunt the tungsten blade of the saw!

The front hub was turned from a piece of mahogany which had been lurking in a garage, while the rear hub, steering head and the bottom bracket were all laminated from wardrobe timber.

Bearings were considered and lignum vitae chosen. This is a hard South American timber that has the valuable property that it is almost self lubricating. A trip to a local exotic timber supplier revealed that this is readily available and two 12 inch lengths of one inch square plus a further length of two inch square provided more than enough material for all bearings and only cost about 15. Nick and Jon had to wait to be served while the owner dealt with another client. Whilst they were paying the owner asked what they were going to use the wood for, and looked shocked on being told it was for a bike as apparently the previous client had come all the way from Staffordshire wanting exotic woods for exactly the same purpose!

The gears were all laminated from ply, the reasoning being that the gear teeth would be stronger with random grain directions.

The chain was made from wooden tongue depressors or spatulas, on the basis that they were cheap and they had a considerable number available, with 15mm dowel rod forming the large diameter "roller" and 6mm dowel forming the pins. The inner links had two depressors laminated together each side while the outer links had three each side for added shear strength.

Of the major components this only leaves the saddle. Jon voluntarily took on this task and came up with a novel application of basket weaving skills to make a resilient perch for the rider. This was not without its problems however, as again the rules did not allow "fibres" in construction, and it was Jon's intention to use willow fronds. After a couple of emails with the IWBSRA they received the all-clear for the use of willow.