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Downtime: Doug Henthorn builds bikes

October 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Doug Henthorn keeps a scooter in the storage closet across from his office, but it’s not the typical scooter you may have zipped around on as a child.

Henthorn 1 

(Click here to see a clip of Henthorn demonstrating how he gets around campus.)

Henthorn works as a technology support specialist in the college’s ISR department. When he’s not helping students and faculty sort out computer troubles, Henthorn enjoys building bikes, scooters, and other multi-wheeled creations. The bright yellow kickbike scooter he shows me looks like a cross between a scooter and a bicycle as imagined by Dr. Seuss. Kickbikes like this one typically retail for $200 to $500, but because Henthorn’s scooter is made almost entirely from recycled parts, it only cost him $30 to build.

Henthorn started building bikes in high school as a means to get around easily and to get creative with old bike pieces and recycled materials. His first major project was a canoe hauler that could be pulled by two bikes. In the past seven years he has crafted the kickbike, a long wheel recumbent bike, and his “tadpole trike,” among others.

Each bike is both functional and fun to ride. The tadpole trike looks like the adult version of a tricycle but with the wheels reversed. The bike sports two wheels on either side of the seat and one wheel in back that is powered by the pedals. A curved mesh seat allows the rider to sit back much like they would in a recumbent bike. “This is great fun to ride and is really comfortable even on long rides,” says Henthorn of his creation.

Henthorn carefully composes each bike out of a variety of parts and materials. “I tear an old bike apart and reuse most of the parts and a lot of the metal for my bikes,” he says. “I have built the two recumbent bikes for less than $200 for both of them.”

Henthorn 2 

When Henthorn is riding to Commons at full speed, his kickbike scooter can even surpass a golf cart, he informs me. His bikes are a fun, cost-efficient, and environmentally-conscious way to get around campus in style.

—Kate Atkinson’15

Know of another Beloiter (staff, faculty, or student) who has an interesting or unusual hobby that they pursue in their downtime? Tell us at terrarium@beloit.edu.