Wood you believe it – PE man’s bike turns heads
His unusual project is winning fans everywhere, but he insists he won't turn it into a commercial venture
Kabega Park resident Winston Momberg spent 223 hours reinventing the wheel and now he is turning heads whenever he’s on the road.
The attraction is his extraordinary bicycle, which he made himself, from wood.
“People are amazed, they can’t believe it, and they stop and ask me where I bought it,” he said on Friday.
“When I tell them I made it myself, of course then they want to know the whole story.”
The retired cabinet maker, who worked for 46 years for the Ford Motor Company, said the idea for a wooden bike popped into his head in 2018, and with the arrival of the new year he set about the task in his small garage-workshop.
“I made cardboard templates of the frame design of my other bike and then cut the wood accordingly.”
He used three 22mm-thick lengths of laminated shutterboard, gluing and clamping them and painstakingly shaping them by hand into the handlebars and crossbar, as well as down and seat shafts.
“It was a challenge to figure out how to put it all together and ensure it did not collapse at the points where there was a lot of pressure, but in the end it worked out.”
Momberg said he initially visited a bike shop to source the gears, brakes, seat, pedals and wheels but found the prices too expensive, so he had turned to Gumtree where he quickly came across a brand-new unwanted Christmas present for sale.
He bought the Gumtree bike, cannibalised it and installed the required parts – including a 21-speed gear system – and by the third week of February his wooden bike was ready to roll.
“I knew it would work but I was very excited. I’m unfit and the fat handlebars took a little getting used to, but my son-in-law and I both tried it out and it rode beautifully,” he said.
As testimony to the interest the bike has attracted, while Momberg was showing it to Weekend Post on Friday, motorists slowed and gaped, while some pulled over to ask more.
Cedric Nel snapped a photograph and said his son, who was in the bicycle business selling top-end Santa Cruz bikes for up to R150,000 each, would be fascinated.
Momberg’s wife Patricia, 67, said she was proud of her husband’s creation.
“Neighbours bring their friends and everyone wants to have a look. I think it is something different.”
She said it would not be long before Momberg tackled another project.
“He’ll sit a bit but then he says ‘no, what can I do’ – and whoops, he’s in the garage fiddling around again.”
The sitting room at the family home on Northumberland Avenue is decorated with miniature wooden cars and skew wooden picture frames which Momberg designed to show off a relative’s paintings.
Their daughter Wendy was so taken by her father’s wooden bicycle that she asked for ornamental replicas to be made, and had just collected these.
Momberg said despite the admiration his wooden bike had received he would probably not duplicate and commercialise the design.
“I wrote down each time I worked on it and it came to a total of 223 hours. So it was a big job and, really, I did it just to keep myself occupied.”
– Weekend Post