One of the most exciting aspects of NAHBS is the diversity of cycles in attendance. This year, the show is joined by Pineapple Trikes, an endeavor by artists and “kinetic enthusiast” partners Bob Van de Walle and Dawn Thomas. Having gotten their start in creative pedal power by turning an old couch into a paddleboat, Dawn and Bob have moved into the production realm with their refined tricycles. With three production models made and ride tested in the USA, Pineapple has three-wheeled models for multi-day social races to running errands day-to-day – and it’s clear they are having a ton of fun. More on these two three-wheeler believers after the jump.
BIKERUMOR: What is your origin story? How did your company get its start?
DAWN: We have an amazing origin because we started many years ago with a red velvet couch and a dream. Before we built any trikes, Bob and I turned our favorite couch into a pedal-powered pontoon paddlewheeler, just to see if we could pull it off. Of necessity, we taught ourselves to weld with a little Lincoln 140 mig welder. We enjoyed being on the water for a few seasons, then rebuilt the undercarriage of the couch and raced on the railroad tracks. Before we ever built a bike we had a good understanding of how to add propulsion systems to our contraptions.
The local community bike kitchen let us dig in their dumpster for old bike frames and parts, and we would take the parts home to build our crazy stuff. We built our first trike for the Triathlon of the Art World, the Kinetic Grand Championship in Arcata. Our first kinetic racer vehicle was a 2-person, side-by-side amphibious trike built for the 2014 Kinetic Grand Championship in Arcata. It was the most amazing, 3-day race, and we really enjoyed riding side-by-side on our trike. When we got back home, we’d take the trike to the grocery store and to events, and before long, folks started asking questions, wondering how they could get one of these sociable tandem trikes. We built the Cargo Cruiser to show folks that we could build a slick, well-crafted trike that was, essentially, consumer-ready.
BIKERUMOR: Why did you decide to make a living out of it?
DAWN: We started a proper business about a year ago, and have designed a few different trike models in SketchUp, and have built one Cargo Cruiser, which we will be bringing to the NAHBS. We have found that there is a lot of interest from folks who are attracted to the idea of stylishly pedaling along with their partner. We listen to people who love to talk about their dreams, and we want to leverage their passion into a tangible product. We hope to begin building some more custom trikes for folks this summer.
BIKERUMOR: What got you excited about building bikes when you first started out?
DAWN: Building bikes and trikes, handcars and paddlewheel contraptions was very exciting for us when we started out, and still is. We try and improve our Trikes every time we build one. For example, if we have discovered a special kind of rim, or fat tire, we will use that again. While the experience of riding one of our vehicles is unique, we strive to use high-quality materials and standard, easy to replace components. We hope they will last a long time, and be an easy-to-use ride for folks. We also want them to look good, and put a lot of thought into aesthetics, and the user experience. Some of our Trikes have bottle openers built into the frame, and some have custom cup-holders. We like to think a lot about the little things.
BIKERUMOR: What gets you really stoked about what you do today?
DAWN: We have so many ideas, that we can’t keep up with them! It is exciting to think about all the crazy things we can build, and that we are still able to enjoy riding them. We love to see the smiles on people’s faces when they see our large trike out on the road. We get a lot of friendly honks, and thumbs-ups out the window of cars passing us.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the cool thing you’re bringing to the show this year?
DAWN: We are bringing our amazing Sociable Tandem Cargo Cruiser. It has adjustable, semi-recumbent, side by side seating. A shared steering wand with solar stereo option. 15 speeds to choose from. Disc brakes on all 3 wheels, and a parking brake. A seat and cargo area in the back, that will carry 150 lbs. of whatever you choose. Removable roof rack with bungie hooks for light items or a solar panel. Standard parts, wheels and components whenever possible, to make this easy to build and fix.
Our Cargo Cruiser is so much fun to ride with your family or friends! You will never want to stop!
BIKERUMOR: What advice would you give someone wanting to do what you do?
DAWN: Go for it! We need more people on the planet living their dream, and if the two of us can learn to weld and build amazing things, then you can too!