From creative concept to trendy transportation: a history of the Sandwichbike
When Basten Leijh of Bleijh (www.bleijh.com) created the first concept of the Sandwichbike there was no way of knowing the road it was going to take. Thanks to the continual enthusiastic online interest in the concept, the Sandwichbike remained on the drawing table, even in the years when other projects demanded Bleijh’s attention. And after much hard work, the Sandwichbike can soon be pre-ordered and upcoming fall the very first bikes will be shipped and delivered.
It all began in 2006 when Bleijh industrial design studio competed in the International Bicycle Design Competition in Taiwan. Bleijh’s aim was to create a bicycle that re-examined materials, manufacturing and distribution of the common bike. Inspired by the concept of flat packing and home assembly, Basten Leijh of Bleijh, together with Pieter Janssen, designed a bike made out of two wooden plates. Apart from the obvious advantages flat packing has for shipment, the use of two wooden plates gives freedom of printing and cutting techniques, making it possible to give each bicycle its own unique identity.
With a prestigious fifth place and plenty of positive publicity the 1:3 scaled bicycle was used to create a full-scale prototype, which was exhibited in Milan. Again the global publicity was promising and it was clear there was a real demand. Unfortunately, Bleijh was not able to meet demand at the time as their prototype, and with it intrinsic knowledge of the bike, was stolen at the exhibition.
Bleijh tackled the issue of recreating a new prototype and readdressing engineering issues such as using fewer screws to assemble the bicycle. After completing the newest prototype in 2007, the Sandwichbike was put on hold as other interesting projects at Bleijh demanded attention.
At the end of 2010 Bleijh refocused on the Sandwichbike. The continuous buzz that the bike concept was still producing on Internet motivated them to take the concept and make it more concrete with the help of engineers from both the cycling as automotive industry. In the following year, a handful of prototypes were made, focussing on sturdy materials, sustainability, precision and, of course, travel comfort.
At this time, the Pedalfactory was established to be responsible for the realisation and sales of the Sandwichbike.