The Electrocycle Project! (Part I)

Greetings and welcome to the first post of The Steampunk Forge, where we cover News, Reviews, and Projects Obscura relating to the Steampunk Genre. This post will be brief as my primary intention is merely to document the beginning of a project before moving on. Every project Steampunk Forge undertakes will follow 3 primary rules:

  • Adhere to the style of steampunk as closely as possible, while simultaneously advancing the medium.
  • Use as many recycled materials as possible.
  • Serve some functional purpose.

It is not enough, in my opinion to make things merely for the sake of looking cool. As an engineering student, and the descendant of a long line of mad scientists, I am firmly of the belief that functional art is the pinnacle of engineering. I am also deeply entrenched in the belief that, while steampunk hails from a time where environmentalism was shunned in favor of industry, the realities of the world we live in today make this attitude as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the truth. We are, after all, men and women of Science; let us behave as such! Every material one can reuse so as to prevent its landfill grave not only saves money, but also precious resources. Further, what better inspiration for the form and elegance of antiquity than from old materials?

And so begins our first project. We found this beauty in a garage sale. It’s an electric exercise bike for either really lazy people or perhaps to rehabilitate those with atrophied muscles. It is made almost entirely out of steel, much of it painted black with white streamlines, styled to resemble the Industrial and Modern age equipment of the late 1800’s early 1900’s. The seat is patent white leather and the engine itself is an old Westinghouse. The piece still includes a crank-adjuster to set the weight of the rider, complete with wooden handle!

The item still works beautifully and near-silently as well…

I’m open to suggestions at this point, but primarily I intend to change the color scheme to that of brass and copper, possibly to mask the engine as a mock boiler tank, and perhaps rewire the engine itself so that the bike produces electricity rather than uses it. If I could make it functional as an electric generator, perhaps with a couple of lights thrown in, then it would actually serve a useful purpose. Among other period modifications, I will replace the white leather with brown, and the castors are in bad need of replacement. Not only do they stick at the most inopportune times, but some more period wheels would be far preferable. Lastly, I will try to create a name-plate for it.

As for the name, I’m thinking the Electrocycle. Or, “Maximilian Libra’s Self-Illuminating Electrocycle” (if I add lights). The net cost for this project so far is $30. $25 for the bike itself and another $5 for assorted garage-sale detritus I found to assist in punking it out. Including a steam-gauge.

Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 18:06  Leave a Comment  
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