Connor Wood Bicycles’ D.U.R.T. (Denver Urban Reclaimed Tree) Bike Project – A Hand-Crafted Wooden Bike Uses Wood from Denver’s Urban Forest; Built to Compete in the Leadville100 Mountain-Bike Race, August 10th 2013
In what was likely a first for a wood-framed bicycle, Connor Wood Bicycles has engaged in a ground-breaking project to give an urban tree from Denver a second life as a custom-made, race-ready mountain bike (the D.U.R.T. Bike) that has passed the ultimate test, the Leadville 100 race, a 100-mile mountain-bike competition in Leadville, Colo. on August 10th, 2013.
Chris Connor of Denver-based Connor Wood Bicycles, has teamed up with Robert Brudenell, an experienced endurance mountain bike rider, arborist, and owner of The Natural Way, a Denver-based tree care company. His ambitious dream to take downed trees from within the city of Denver and turn them into a bike that’s constructed in Denver and then race it in one of Colorado’s marquee bike races has been the driving force behind the project. He is doing this also as an effort to raise awareness for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
This past spring, Brudenell tracked down a white ash tree that was hit by a car on the median of 6th Ave in Denver and a black walnut tree, which died of disease at a residential property, the two woods used by Connor Wood Cycles to created high-performance “art.” The wood from both of these trees was locally milled and then kiln dried at Natural Way’s facility.
Says, Brudenell, “The City of Denver’s urban forest is an incredible resource for high-quality wood. Fallen or dead trees can be put to use in all sorts of amazing projects. It’s great to take these trees and use local companies and facilities to turn them into functional, useful projects.”
Working with this local wood, Connor Wood Bicycles fabricated the bike’s frame and handlebars, made primarily from white ash, with Connor’s signature Kevlar application, to give the wood incredible strength but still provide a supple ride to help smooth out even the toughest trails. Unique to this particular bike, a set of Italian 29-inch wheels made from beech and a 14-speed internal hub that’s connected to the cranks with a Gates carbon belt drive (another Denver-based company). Suspension forks and lightweight carbon-fiber parts round out a mountain bike that weighs less than 30 pounds.
Connor Wood Bicycles founder Chris Connor points out that “Wood is a natural choice for bikes; it is inherently beautiful. You can do things with wood visually that you wouldn’t do with any other material and end up with a rolling work of art. It’s strong as well; think of its toughness and vibration dampening properties when used in sledgehammers, baseball bats, skis and snowboards. And when cared for, wood will last and stay strong for decades. The combination of the Kevlar reinforced wood, the bowed shape of the frame and the wooden handlebars, plus the big wheels results in a premium ride and smoothness unlike any other bike out there.”
About The Natural Way, Inc.
Locally owned The Natural Way, Inc. has served the Front Range communities for more than 15 years. The Tree Care Industry Association made it the first Accredited Tree Care Company in Colorado—and third in the nation. http://www.thenaturalwayinc.net