Essington man Blends Love of Woodworking and Cycling to Make Wooden Bikes

Image via Peg DeGrassa Media News Group.

Joe LaVallee has always enjoyed woodworking and building things with his hands, but he also loved riding his bike.  Now he’s found a way to combine his two loves, writes Peg DeGrassa for the Delaware County News Network.

“One day, two years ago, I wondered if I could build a fully operable bicycle out of wood,” LaVallee said.

The biker/wood craftsman has been building wooden bikes ever since. He still rides the first bike he built, and has put over 100 miles on it. The mountain-style bike, crafted from black walnut, cherry and maple woods, has 21 speeds, a leather seat, handlebars, and disc brakes.

When people noticed his unique creation, he began taking orders.

Each bike takes about 40 hours to complete and sells for $2,000-$2,700, which barely covers the cost of LaVallee’s labor, he said.

“I’m not doing this  to make money,” LaVallee said. “I honestly don’t want to make a huge profit. I just want to make bikes!”

LaVallee, an alumni of the Interboro Class of 1978, is slowly edging toward retirement age and dreams of being able to create a few special bikes for people each year during retirement.

Read more about Joe LaVallee’s work here.

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