STORY Feb 26, 2016
Congratulations on your 5 year old birthday. I made you a bicycle.
My 5-year-old daughter says she wants a bicycle as birthday present, but I'm not quite sure about it.
She's only supposed to go places riding a bicycle after she enters the primary school, and I was thinking about buying her one when the time came, but she insists she wants it now.
I got no choice. Let me go to Home Center. And I'll make her a bicycle.
My daughter, who's learned to ride the bicycle of the traffic playground. Now she wants one for herself.
My daughter wants a bicycle
My daughter has addicted to bicycles. She's finally learned how to ride it, after training with the traffic playground bicycle. Now she says she wants one of her own.
But a bicycle for children costs about 20k yen. And after 2 or 3 years, it no longer fits them, and for the present it won't be for transportation, but only for playing. So, if she feels like riding, I prefer she goes to the traffic playground.
Nevertheless, she says she wants a yellow bicycle as birthday present. A friend of mine told me that children who like yellow also like their fathers.
OK, I'll make one. A super duper yellow one.
In the past, I made her a Licca-chan doll out of cardboard. Now she has many of them and still enjoy it. Let's do it again.
Can I really make a bicycle?
Previously, I made her Licca-chan dolls with cardboard. I'm quite good at detailed work.
But this time it's a bicycle! There will be a person riding it, so it requires the strength of a furniture, and besides, it runs. I feel lost starting from the chain structure.
Won't a chair with casters do? I'll try to ask her. How about a yellow chair?
Here I am, at Home Center. There are bicycles for sale at the entrance. But I pass it by and go to the DIY corner in the back.
Let's start with the materials, at Home Center
Right, I'm going to make it, but with what? Anyway, I came to Home Center.
What is a bicycle made of, in the first place? A body made of metal and rubber tires. The body is full of straight lines, so I can do something with wood, but the problem is the tires.
I looked for a round-shaped object the size of a tire, but there's only grindstone. Perhaps I could place two of this grindstone side by side and roll it up with rubber from the top... Hey daughter, is grindstone ok for you?
The only big disk-shaped object I could find was grindstone. Hmm grindstone... My daughter riding a grindstone bicycle...
At a large Home Center
Grindstones are cool, but isn't there anything more tire-like?
On the next day, I came to a larger Home Center. Oh, I can see grindstones here too. Well then, now that I've kept the grindstone as a guarantee, let's look for something else. This is the first time I take a grindstone as guarantee. I still got many things to see in life.
Hey daughter, will an abdominal roller do?
The first candidate changes from grindstone to abdominal roller
What I quickly found was an abdominal roller. This is good. Looks more like a tire. And I also found casters. This is good too, but it's small, and I wanted something more tire-like... That's when I found this.
Yes, it's a tire.
There were tires for handcarts for sale. This is it!!
I got tires for handcarts.
The tires were shining bright at the counter. Tires are such extraordinary objects. Unlike a grindstone, you can fill it up with air, and you can rotate it while putting your body weight on (no need for bearings). It's a supreme gem.
There will be less manually-made elements, but this time, let's prioritize the finishing. Let me think about the structure that will ride on these tires.
Let's go with PVC for the frames
Let's give it a try with PVC
The next thing is the body's material. Maybe wood, which is easy to process? But wood will look fragile in the joints. Isn't there anything stronger?
Oh yes, a bicycle frame is made of iron pipe. As a pipe, it's light and strong. So I think about PVC. There's even PVC connections being sold at Home Center, and it's very strong. And it looks easy to process. Ok, this is it.
Hey daughter, your bicycle is gonna be PVC-made. Whenever we need, it'll work as rain gutter too, alright?
At a hamburger joint inside Home Center, I think about the drawing. I was there for a total of 5 hours.
I listened to "Hotaru no Hikari" at Home Center
How can I make it with a handcart tire and PVC? I kept thinking about it at Home Center. I must have arrived here at 3 pm, and listened to "Hotaru no Hikari", which plays before the store closes.
I start to write down the elements that compose a bicycle. No way I can make a chain, and there's no need for brakes. It became a tricycle-like bicycle, that you rotate the tires directly.
What is a bicycle? I try to write down the elements. The chain and brake, between the parenthesis, were quickly abandoned.
I bought it. 6,400 yen. Tires, PVC, wood and metal fittings.
Bicycles are cheap
I bought all the material. 6,400 yen (to be inflated). An ready-made product is robust, safe and fast, an costs 20,000 yen. A ready-made is a bargain.
As I realized that, well, let's change the incentive. Money is not the problem. It's about the feeling, the warmth of a handmade PVC pipe.
The weekend ends here, so the production will start in the next weekend. In the meantime, my daughter's birthday arrived. I told her I'd give her a bicycle.
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