You’ve heard of beach cruisers, now meet the birch cruisers. These bikes are made in the UK by Simon Tidmus.
Simon makes the bikes from birch ply – about 25 pieces in each frame – that he laminates together with epoxy. Steel and aluminium inserts are added for strength in crucial areas like the head tube, bottom bracket and dropouts. They’re finished in two pack epoxy to make them weatherproof and fitted with either single or two speed caster hubs, so there’s no need for cables or brake levers.
“I build these for fun and try to make a few pennies out of them,” says Simon. “The first one has been sold and numbers two and three are nearing completion.”
Simon is an engineer who builds these bikes in this spare time, so it can take several months to put each one together.
“The wood frame obviously takes the most time with hundreds of hours of shaping, sanding, and treating,” says Simon.
The frames are heavy at about 12-15lb (5.5-7kg) but Simon reckons that adds to the sturdy feel.
“Ride-wise they are great – very stable due to the huge fork rake, although that does take its toll on the turning circle. I would not suggest they are for long-distance riding although I used to ride Birch 001 to and from work which was about six miles each way.
“Birch 001 had a two-speed kickback hub gear while Birch 002 is currently singlespeed: ideal for riding down the beach at Newquay. I may need to make a surf board trailer.”
Simon expects to sell Birch 002 for close to £2,000. If you’re interested, email Birchcruisers@blackberry.eclipse.co.uk.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.