After looking at some tiny folding bikes like the Strida, I decided to spend an afternoon creating my own tiny folding bike. I had a 16″ wheeled kids bike from a garage sale. I figured all it needed was a heavy duty door hinge in the middle to fold in half and some seat and steering extentions.
The bike is a bit “springy” thanks to its old school thin walled steel construction
The biggest door hinge I could find
I have to give myself credit for the quality of work I did. I prepped all joints very well and the welding was of high quality. If only I had done some measurements before I got the tools out…
I welded a pipe on to the original seat tube to extend it. I ground the weld down, sanded it, and painted it all black. I also created a cool extention for the steering. I took the original handle bar clamp, which was designed to clamp a horizontal tube, cut it off, and welded it back on turned 90 degrees to clamp a vertical tube. I then welded another clamp in the usual orientation to a piece of pipe which I then stuck into vertical clamp. I placed the original handlebars into this extended tube.
The hinge was a bastard to weld on, and I create a strange jig to hold it all together while I welded, utilizing an old piece of furniture and the garage’s ceiling joists. I used the biggest door hinge I could find.
Then I decided to go for a ride. I was slightly alarmed when I got on the seat. The children’s seat post is maybe 3/4″ OD. When it is a foot long, it doesn’t flex much. But when it’s been extended by another two feet, it suddenly gets very springy. Banishing all fear of my weld breaking and a seat post violating my most prized organs, I set off down the driveway. The short wheelbase was a bit… “nervous”. I had a hard time tracking in a straight line. This drunken weaving might have been ok if the pedal to ground clearance was not so low, and not decreasing like it was because the hinge was bending apart. My oscillations became so wild that the pedals started to drag on the concrete. By the time I reached the end of the driveway, with neighbors looking at me like a madman, I was ready to give up. The bike took care of that however by throwing the chain. I was unceremoniously dumped into the street.
I remembered Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa. “Well, they can’t all be winners kid…”