San Jose Company Building Bikes With Reclaimed Wood

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Masterworks wood bicycle

A wood bicycle manufactured by San Jose-based Masterworks. (Masterworks)

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Most of us have all ridden a bicycle at least once in our lives. From the heavy, banana seat monsters we tooled around the neighborhood in during the seventies to the sleek, light-as-a-feather carbon fiber road bikes of today.

The bike is our unique symbol of roadway freedom and fun.

We love the idea that these two-wheeled people movers are also environmentally friendly. A bike can get you to where you want to go with out a pit stop to the gas station. It is also the perfect low emissions mode of transport. How can that combination be topped?

The answer may be urban wood. Trees in urban areas are removed for a number of reasons. More often than not, the wood from the tree is just tossed. But now a couple of guys in San Jose have decided to build bicycles from this found wood.

Bill Holloway and Mauro Hernandez of Masterworks are reclaiming urban wood for bike building. They get their wood from local arborists who give the duo a call when a suitable tree becomes available.

“We don’t cut down the trees just for the wood. They might be too close to a house or have an unsafe lean to it or they may be diseased and dying and it has to come out for one reason or another,” said Masterwork’s Bill Holloway. “We salvage it and get it where I store logs and mill it and get it started in the drying process.”

Each bike takes around 100 hours to complete. So far, Holloway and Hernandez have made 9 bikes. The process is all done by hand. There are few very machines in the shop.

Both men add unique touches to the bikes, like carvings and special seats. It is not a stretch to say this is a labor of love.

“I kind of took in stride designing this bike and using the dark walnut and this is urban walnut, it just kind of lent itself to the design,” said Masterwork’s Mauro Hernandez.

“It was really easy to design.”

Masterworks has priced the bicycles at around $7,000.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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