Local bike builder Tom Kabat cycles into Los Altos 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 29 for a Design a Bike Workshop at the Los Altos History Museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road.
Participants can learn how to craft a unique bike using pieces of plywood, scrap metal, discarded bike parts and perhaps even an old pair of skis. Kabat will address bike design, style, ergonomics, possible materials and necessary tools, and share his collection of wooden bikes, scooters and other wheeled machines.
“The workshop is for parents and kids who want to do a project together or people who want to make a bike for Burning Man,” said Kabat of his target audience of middle-schoolers and up who can grasp the engineering principles of how a bike operates.
After learning about bicycle history, participants will use paper silhouettes and Kabat’s low-tech “cardboard-aided design” process to generate a bike design. Workshop attendees are encouraged to bring paper, scissors and straight sticks – tools that will be used to craft a physical sketch of their bike designs.
Although participants may not come away from the workshop with a completed bicycle, Kabat will equip attendees with an engineering foundation and offer tips and instructions for putting their unique contraptions on the streets of Los Altos.
“It’s really fun, because there is no learning curve to the technology,” Kabat noted of the low-performance, one-of-a-kind bike designs that can be created without possessing specialized skills in welding.
In addition to the workshop, a free Family Cycle Carnival is scheduled 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave. Co-sponsored by the museum, GreenTown Los Altos and the Los Altos Recreation Department, the event features a bike rodeo, contests, food and beverages, and an interactive performance by Cyclecide, a traveling pedal-powered circus that showcases tricks on custom-designed bicycles.
The Design a Bike Workshop and the carnival are supplementary programs of the museum’s “Pedal Power: From Wacky to Workhorse” exhibition, on display through Oct. 5.
For more information, visit losaltoshistory.org/events.html.