A balance bike made of bamboo, to help kids learn to ride. No training wheels, no scraping shins on pedals, just a whole lot of fun.
Howdy! Thanks for sticking around to read this far. If you've already watched the video, we hope you enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun making it, even my kids, who had to endure the directorial whims of Mr. Bossy Boots (that would be me).
Once upon a time...
Years and years ago, my children also survived the hamfisted attempts of a well-intentioned parent (that would be me too) to help them learn to ride bikes. They came out of it OK, but not without plenty of anxious moments, bumps, pedal-scraped shins, tears, and whimpering on all sides (hey, you'd whimper too if a kid ran into your ankle with a training wheel). If I had known about balance bikes then, it all could have been a lot easier and more fun.
At about the same time that I discovered balance bikes, another new trend started to take off too. More and more products made of bamboo, instead of wood or plastic, started to appear in all sorts of places. One of those places was our kitchen, in the form of some sturdy, yet lightweight and rather attractive cutting boards.
One day I was washing one of these bamboo cutting boards, and it just popped into my head (insert cartoon lightbulb here): Hey, I bet I could make one of those balance bikes out of this stuff!
Things get messy
If you've spent time around persons of the Obsessive-Compulsive persuasion (yet again, that would be me), you can guess what happened next. I threw myself into round after round of designing, modeling, refining, and general noodling. I researched environmentally benign varnishes and glues and upholstery fabrics and padding materials. I learned how to use CAD and CAM software, and how to run a CNC router, and how to outsource part production when my prototyping / hobbyist CNC machine broke down (thanks, Jeremy). I drove my nearest and dearest to distraction with my Scooty Boo preoccupation.
18 months later, this is the result. A Kickstarter campaign, where I ask the entire Internet to help us turn a prototype into a product. Kickstarter, as the brightest light in the crowdfunding firmament (yes, I'm wordy and I use parenthetic asides too much, sorry about that) is the third and perhaps the most marvelous new idea I've come across lately. Run your project up the world's tallest flagpole, and see if people throw money at it? Give them cool rewards, thus in turn receiving a warm fuzzy of Reciprocal Good Will? Help build new connections of inspiration and contribution and delight, between thousands of people across the face of the earth? What could be better than that?
The Pieces and Parts
We're sourcing as much as possible for this project from local and North American suppliers. Scooty Boo, and the other tangible rewards, will be made primarily of Plyboo. It's an FSC certified sustainable product from Smith and Fong, a pioneer in the field of bamboo plywood. Edwardsson Cycles has secured supplies of Plyboo from Smith and Fong's midwestern distributor.
We're making the other parts of Scooty Boo out of eco-friendly materials too. The inner seat cushion is a dual-layer combination of Enviro-Fiber Foam and recycled neoprene. The outer seat cover is organic cotton canvas. The canvas and Enviro-Fiber Foam are products of Enviro Textiles, a Colorado-based firm. Enviro-Fiber is a fantastic product, made of natural latex and coconut fiber, and procured in accordance with Fair Trade principles from coconut plantations in Mexico. And it makes a really cushy seat! The neoprene layer between the Enviro-Fiber foam and the cotton cover comes from discarded wetsuits. We use the same recycled neoprene for the handlebar grips
The last piece of the puzzle, final assembly and shipping, will be put in place by Peoria Production Shop. They're a non-profit that has provided employment to people with disabilities for more than 60 years.
Naturally we want to get the rewards out as soon as possible after the Kickstarter campaign ends, but mass production takes time. Our friend Rafa Atijas of Loog Guitar fame has helped us keep our expectations realistic when it comes to timetables (he also gave us terrific theme music for the Kickstarter video, thanks Rafa). For a full outline of our post-Kickstarter production schedule, click this picture:
So what are you waiting for? Get in on some of this Kickstarter action so we can send you something cool. Before we can send it, we have to make it, and to do that on a production scale we need a new, higher capacity CNC cutting machine. That's the first thing we plan to use your contributions for.
We also need to purchase bulk quantities of bamboo and other raw materials, and pay the wonderful people at Peoria Production Shop for their services. Yes, manufacturing jobs still exist in The Midwest, and you can help keep them here by backing this Kickstarter campaign. This thing's an itty bitty festival of environmental friendliness and socially responsible economic activity on two wheels!
We need your help to get the Scooty Boo party started. So pretty please with a bamboo shoot on top, back our campaign and help us Kickstart Scooty Boo. Thanks.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
GRASSROOTS BOOSTER LEVEL - Ping the panda will read your name aloud in a Roll Of Honor video, to be posted on Scooty Boo's Kickstarter Thank You web page. Your name will be listed on the page for as long as there's a Scooty Boo website in the world.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
GREEN TEA GROUPIE LEVEL - A lovely coaster made of 1/4 inch bamboo plywood, engraved with the words "I Kickstarted Scooty Boo", and a likeness of our dashing first test rider, Cousin Simon, scooting expertly on the alpha prototype.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or moreYou selected
GALLIVANTING GURU LEVEL - A fabulous set of bamboo luggage tags. Two ruggedly handsome tags made of 1/4 inch bamboo plywood, with your name and contact information engraved into one side.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
TEAM BOO LEVEL - A set of six coasters, a la Green Tea Groupie only more so. Put a bamboo Cousin Simon under every cup. Give all your surfaces a layer of Scooty Boo powered protection against unsightly cocoa mug rings.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
KANTO FESTIVAL LEVEL - The Bamboomerang, a stylish bamboo floor stand for the bike you already have, plus a set of two Gallivanting Guru Level luggage tags. The swooping style of Bamboomerang accents your trusty steed at rest, and the engraved luggage tags bring your bags back to you when you're on the go.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $170 or moreYou selected
FLAT PANDA LEVEL - A flat-packed Scooty Boo for the handy mom or dad. Don't worry, no pandas were flattened to bring you this reward, only the bikes. You get all the bits and pieces, and put it together yourself. This no-frills version of Scooty Boo will arrive in two separate packages. The frame, seat, handgrips and hardware will ship from Scooty Boo HQ in Peoria, Illinois. The wheels will be drop shipped from our supplier to you, to take advantage of the low shipping rates they get from UPS. Contiguous 48 U.S. states only, sorry HI, AK and everywhere else, shipping costs are unfeasible :-(Estimated delivery:
Pledge $220 or moreYou selected
PANDA PELOTON LEVEL - A Scooty Boo! These Kickstarter Limited Edition models will come with individually numbered, engraved license plates. Early backers will get lower numbers, so hurry before we hit triple digits and have to shrink the engraving font! Contiguous 48 U.S. states only, sorry HI, AK and everywhere else, shipping costs are unfeasible :-(Estimated delivery:
Pledge $240 or moreYou selected
FAR HORIZON LEVEL - A Scooty Boo mailed USPS across the seven seas. We've added this level so that Dashing Test Rider Cousin Simon's buddies in the Netherlands, and kids all around the world, will not be deprived of the chance to join the Scooty Boo armada. To bring the package size and postal cost down, we're packaging these Scooty Boos completely unassembled. Only the parts that are glued will be shipped pre-assembled in the box. So our Alaskan, Hawaiian, and international backers CAN have a Scooty Boo after all! You'll just have to do a little more work putting it together. But don't worry, we will include easy-to-follow instructions in the box.Estimated delivery:
- (31 days)