Street Use

Handle Bar Adaption in Lagos

In Lagos Nigeria the traffic so bad and thick that the handle bars on the ubiquitous motorcycles are pinned back to make it easier for the bikes to navigate fast between rows of stuck cars.

Lagos Motorbike

It was hard to extract a decent picture from the Current video, but you can see it fine at about 6:30 on the clip here.

Posted on January 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm | comments

Cuban Motor Bike

What an elegant design. A wonderfully sleek bicycle is given a motor  and gas tank in Cuba to make a motor bike.


A close up view with annotations shows a different home-made motor bike in Cuba, collected by Ernesto Oroza. The detail of the soda bottle gas tank is wonderful. This design uses the motor’s rotor to directly power the tire.


Posted on January 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm | comments

Re-Invented Objects

That’s what Cuban artist and researcher Ernesto Oroza calls these “inventions of neccessity.” For eight years he has collected everyday objects crafted from discards, and re-purposed technology found in Cuba. Where purchased goods are in short supply, people fix their own. He’s shown these re-invented objects in several exhibitions. For instance, here is a razor made with the blade and a pencil.


Or a fan blade repaired with a piece of vinyl record.


There are others. Check out this set of chairs constructed from broken plastic chairs given a new rebar skeleton. 


Many of Oroza’s objects were photographed and collected into a booklet called No Waste, which was publshed by Pentagram and is now out of print (available in a handful of libraries).

Posted on at 5:33 pm | comments

Go Cart Haulers

From Zeraga’s Flickr pool.

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In Perú from Huánuco to Tingo Maria, where the road from the Pacific coast across the Andes finds its way towards the Amazon lowlands. This is near the top of the last mountain pass. From there, soapbox rider can enjoy a vertical 1000 meters of gravity assisted ride. As these kids help stranded truck drivers along the road, they’re called bomberos (firemen). They transport drinks, food and spare parts to broken trucks.

Posted on January 8, 2008 at 6:52 pm | comments

Homemade Sled

Good sleds are hard to find these days. Might be liability issues, since a fast sled can be dangerous for little kids. You can make a dangerous fast sled using an old pair of skis and a plastic tub “sled.”  Jeff Potter, chief blogger at on Out Your Backdoor wrote to me with instructions:

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My brother Tim created a neat homebrew sled design. I made a couple of them for our kids for Xmas. What you do is take a plastic tub sled ($10 hardware store) and screw a pair of XC skis to the bottom of it. You can also use downhill skis—better for rough use. You can add a spacer of 1×3 firring between sled and ski to get some height for floating better over fresh snow. Use short, stout screws, Gorilla Glue (expands) and big washers to avoid pull-thru. Then glue foam-padding into the inside. This sled runs straight, smooth and far. Definitely the fastest on the hill. You’ll be a big hit!

It’s dangerous because you can’t steer. But it’s fast. Pictures and inspiration were found on Out Your Backdoor.

Posted on at 4:48 pm | comments