Lance Rake displayed a bike made from upcycled old wine barrels at the 2019 North American Handmade Bicycle Show earlier in March.
He hopes to one day make the design available to woodworkers in popular wine regions so that they can earn an income from the recycled wood.
This isn’t the first time Rake has used nontraditional materials to design a new kind of bike-he has previously created bikes made of bamboo, too.
Lance Rake, an industrial designer, teacher, and innovator, has debuted a rad ride made from upcycling old wine barrels at the 2019 North American Handmade Bicycle Show earlier in March.
Rake’s inspiration hit when he was visiting California and saw furniture made of wine barrel staves. Being no stranger to innovative design or nontraditional, raw materials-his earlier foray into bike building resulted in the HERObike, a road bicycle made from a woven bamboo and carbon fiber frame-Rake got to work on what would become the Cooper Bicycle.
Other sources of inspiration for Rake’s designs are sustainability and authenticity. As he designs a new project, he often asks himself, “How can we use local resources and local craft skills to create jobs?”
“Things are designed and made by unskilled laborers and machines,” he told Bicycling. “What if my designs were being made by people who really care?”
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That’s at the heart of Rake’s designs, who sees his projects with local craftspeople as collaborations and opportunities to share in entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Cooper’s rustic look is due in part to the winemaking process, when the vintner chars the interior of a barrel to enrich the flavor of the wine. The charring, along with the stain the wood obtains from the aging wine, provides a custom color that adds a custom color to the oak finish.
The Cooper, whose name is the word used for barrel makers, features a two-speed coaster-brake hub, which Rake plans to upgrade with a derailleur.
Another important feature at the heart of his designs? Accessibility. Rake built the Cooper in kit form, so that customers would be able to easily assemble the different frame pieces together and go.
Rake wants to combine new industrial design methods and technologies with the skills of crafts workers to create job opportunities and growth in places-particularly in rural areas-where those options are not readily available. His ultimate plan is to make the Cooper design available to woodworkers in popular wine regions so that they can earn an income from the recycled wood.
Previously, Rake has worked on a bamboo and carbon e-bike, as well as creating kits for entrepreneurs in India that can easily be put together with basic tools. This aligns with Rake’s vision of “using design to create sustainable craft-based enterprises in rural communities in the U.S., Africa, and India.”
Currently, the Cooper is in California’s Bay Area-“but I’ll have it sent back here [Kansas] so I can ride it and see if there are any improvements that need to be made,” said Rake.
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