Tandem Bikes as Kinetic Sculpture


The Air Kraken is and extreme example of tricycle engineering, steam punk aesthetics and mobile sushi.  Gabriel Cain is building a custom tricycle that will transport two peddlers and a sculpture of a mythic sea monster: the Kraken!

Air Kraken tandem tricycle

Cain is building the whole bike from parts in his tiny urban garage and driveway.   Photos on Cain’s web site document the process of designing, building and eventually riding the tandem tricycle. His site includes links to resources for designs, plans and parts for building your own cycle.

4 wheel bicycle for two peddlers

Or you could buy a bike and customize it.  I have a four wheel tandem cycle that was manufactured for commercial use.  Currently my bike has hundreds of multicolored LED lights and I’m sketching plans to add more visual and sound art.  Cain’s project inspires me to get crackin on my plans and start making things happen!

I’ve been SCUBA diving for 14 years and I would love to make a whimsical sculpture of a sea creature using EL wire, LEDs and an aluminum wire frame.  I’m thinking tropical fish with graceful fins or a gentle jellyfish, or perhaps a school of little glowing fish.  Cain’s sea monster could chase my little fish around.  We shall see who has the faster fish!

How to make an art bike

A beautifully engineered bicycle is a work of kinetic art.  Taken to an extreme, a bicycle can be a platform for intricate sculpture, dramatic lighting and sound.  Issue 26 of Make magazine features a whole bunch of art bikes, go carts, scooters and skateboards.

Make: Live 06 – Bikes, Basics to Extremes
Wednesday April 13th, 9pm ET/6pm PT
Watch at makezine.com/live or on UStream

Why create an art bike?

My cycle is too wide to ride in a bike lane on an urban or suburban road, and way too wide to ride on the bike trails because the faster cyclists would not be able to pass safely.  Why bother making a huge bike that you can’t even ride on streets or trails?

Cain plans to ride the Air Kraken in the Fremont Solstice Parade and use it as his primary method of transportation at Burning Man.  My cycle was great at Burning Man last year!    As a work of art, the Air Kraken would likely be welcomed at festivals, parades and schools.  But mostly these creations are works of loveWe experience a fulfilling joy in the process of creation and in the sharing of our art with others.

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About Christin

I build robots as a hobby and I work with software as my career. Last year I mentored a FIRST Robotics team, Team XBot. I worked at Microsoft for 11 years in such roles as developer tech support, Developer Evangelist, and Program Manager in Visual Studio.
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