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Painted WheelOil-based paint will waterproof, glue and color the cardboard nicely.
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Painted SideCardboard wedged in spokes, ready to be painted.
By Dan Goldwater
Living in Oakland, you can’t miss the Scraper Bike phenomenon. Local Tyrone “Baby Champ” Stevenson is generally credited for popularizing the style. Baby Champ advocates the scraper bike as “a way of expressing your creative side… it’s a do-it-yourself thing.” Now that’s a philosophy I can get behind! The past two summers, Baby Champ and his crew have led a large ride through the city. You can bet I didn’t miss it!
I think it can be said of all great ideas that every new generation re-invents them for their own. The year is 1895 and bicycles are enjoying a brief 20-year explosion of popularity before being thrown under the (belching Diesel-powered) bus. All but lost to the sands of time, Henry V Swan of New York is looking for a way to stand out in the crowd and invents a decorative wheel attachment. His design calls for colorful cloth that unfolds like an oriental fan to fill the disc of the wheel.
Just two years later, the patriotic J.P. Peters of Philadelphia has another method. By 1950 we entered the Age of Plastics and Leslie Mann of Detroit suggested its use. By the 1970s another new generation had found their rides – and how to pimp them.
Nowadays, available methods and materials are the key to a good scraper bike, as is a good sense of color and a practiced spray-can-finger. A scraper bike typically has a color theme that includes both frame and wheels. There are several ways to do the wheels and the methods are evolving. In 2008, the prevalent method was to wrap aluminum foil around some of the spokes and spray paint the foil wedges. This looks great but it gets trashed pretty fast. By 2009, the most common style uses colored tape wrapped around the spokes. This method is clean, durable and easy. As an experiment, I made two of my own wheels using other methods, but the result wasn’t much better than the packing-tape method.
Now let’s build some rockin’ wheels!!
1. Colored Tape
For this, you just need tape. Duct tape, floor marking tape and packing tape are all good choices and available in eight or more colors. If you can’t find your color at a home improvement store, try this website: fast-pack.com/colored_tape.html, or else this one has them: mcmaster.com – item number 6031T897 or 7769A14. Tape in hand, just start wrapping around your spokes! You can make triangle wedges, rectangle wedges or more complex wrapped shapes. These photos (at top of story) should give you some inspiration. You can also tape in some found materials like your favorite candy wrapper.
2. Painted Cardoard
First make a template the same size as your spoke wedges. Cut out cardboard pieces to match. When you insert the cardboard, the spokes should slide a bit into the edge of the cardboard.
Then just paint it with some oil-based paint. The paint will waterproof, glue and color the cardboard nicely.
More construction and inspirational photos are online at instructables.com/group/momentum