So many people these days are returning to cycling to get around, and I’m considering it myself. It’s surely one of the quickest, and most satisfying ways of greening up your lifestyle, and it’s healthy, too. With constant health warnings about obesity (and Christmas coming up), it’s an attractive proposition.

Each week, someone seems to come out with a beautiful bicycle, but the price tags are the big problem. Now, though, architect Andrew Maynard has come up with an ingenious and stylish solution. His OLC – that’s “One Less Car” – bike is designed to sell for under $35 – yes, that’s LESS THAN 35 US DOLLARS!!!


This plywood bicycle is perfectly conceived for the mass market. Not only are the materials plentiful and cheap, more importantly they are all either recyclable or recycled. The assembly process is also economical, and many of the parts are glued together, making it very strong compared to other bikes at the cheap end of the market. It’s a sensible, no-frills design, with just two gears, but everything is there for you to get on and ride immediately. There are also stylish and practical features, like having the chain, brakes, cogs and lights concealed within the ply frame. This not only keeps the look sleek and simple, and means you won’t snag your trouser on the chain.

From the website, it doesn’t look to me as though Maynard has a distributor in place yet, but he has a vision of retailers like Ikea taking the bikes. I hope they do. I’d definitely get one. At the price, it’s within the reach of many more people than most new bikes are, and that’s got to be good for the planet, too. By the way, “Ply-cycle” and “Plike” are my ideas – commission/royalties anyone?(!)




  1. 1 Phil January 7, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    It looks wonderful but

    Can it be lightly made from recycled plastic?

    Splinters in an accident? “Lazy brakes” on a racer have been known to puncture a lung during a stack. How will this thing splinter in a collision?

    Is there acetylformaldehyde in the plywood? It’s a widespread allergin.

    Price? 10 gear mountain bikes are already down to $80 to $120 or similar for a good brand 2nd hand bike.

    What braking system? Can you easily access it for repairs?

    Do the wheels of that particular design give higher wind resistance.

    Chain. Looks like bad access. Chains stretch and eventually come off. An irritating problem which may be difficult to rectify with this design.

    Centre bracket? Also inaccessible.

    Is the seat pole adjustible? That’s crucial.

    It only has 2 gears. 2 gears bad. 5 gears good. One doesn’t need the 10 or 21 gears most bike now offer but 2 makes the bike a bad commuter and uncompetitive with cars for longer suburban trips of say 7 to 15 km. Even most mountain bikes gears are deficient for these trips and encourage people back into cars.

    I’d love to be seen on this bike. It needs tweaking.

  2. 2 Bob June 15, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Maynard is an architect and this is certainly a bike about more about ideas than a thorough industrial design solution. I’m not sure we need to be so critical, check out his site, Maynard has designed many objects – cars to houses – which are basic in their appreciation of constructibility but detailed in the issues they address. But yes, as a cyclist and an architecture student I too feel this would need a fair bit of tweaking to actually get it off of the ground, we can hope! By the way, I ride a singlespeed fixed gear and while not for everyone, their popularity for commuting is certainly taking off!

  1. 1 CRAZY WEDNESDAY: WONDERFUL NEW ELECTRIC BIKE!!! « Mygreenweek Trackback on February 6, 2008 at 2:48 am

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