Not Everything About the Lockdown is Grim: Punjab Carpenter’s Unique Wooden Cycle Goes Viral

Social Commentary

Not Everything About the Lockdown is Grim: Punjab Carpenter’s Unique Wooden Cycle Goes Viral

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The lockdown that shut down most business activities in the country this year hit every sector, and Punjabi carpenter Dhani Ram Saggu was no different. His business of building furniture and repairing broken fittings for residents of Punjab’s Zirakpur came to a halt as all construction work stopped due to the lockdown. In order to make his time at home productive, Saggu decided to attempt crafting a bicycle using his carpentry skills and the materials available to him at home: plywood, a few tools, and some old cycles. After four months of designing and testing prototypes that began in April, Saggu has now created an entirely wooden bicycle that has gone viral and is netting him orders from all over the country and even overseas.

“In my first attempt, I lined the wheel’s tube onto a metal rim and placed that around a circular piece of wood. This was not very effective, and the cycle would not move properly. Also, the handlebars were made all from wood, which was not comfortable to hold,” said Saggu. However, this led him to making alterations that resulted in a visually unique cycle that has interested buyers contacting him from as far as Canada and South Africa.

The cycle consists of a wooden frame made with Canadian wood, polished to a shine, and a wooden basket in front. Saggu has even managed to work disc brakes and mudguards into the design. The frame is heavier than regular aluminium alloy or carbon fibre cycle, at 20kg, but also has the capacity to carry 50kg loads. Through word of mouth at first, and then through the viral photos of his unique design, Saggu quickly began receiving orders. Each cycle costs ₹15,000, before shipping, and can be customised to the user’s preference.

A report in The Better India lists Saggu’s contact details, for those interested in owning one of these special cycles. Saggu’s lockdown project has become a viral sensation, and it’s not often you get to ride around on one of those.