This year's North American Handmade Bicycle Show was held in Louisville, Kentucky – a city known for its namesake Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Bicycle builder Chris Connor decided to commemorate the event, by building a one-off wooden bike made from Slugger baseball bat billets.
"I've always referred to the strength of my bicycles as akin to that of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, because I use the same American white ash that they use in their bats," Connor told us. "So, I pitched them the idea of doing a bicycle out of their baseball bat billets, the actual blanks from their bats. They loved the idea, and they sent me out a tremendous box of these billets."
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Ordinarily, the long, cylindrical billets are turned on a lathe in order to create the bats. In this case, however, Connor cut them into slabs, laminated those slabs together, and then used that wood to create the frame. He then sent that frame to the Louisville Slugger factory, where it received the traditional Slugger branded-on logo along with the clear finish normally applied to the bats.
The bike also features a custom saddle made from the leather used for Louisville Slugger's baseball mitts, along with handlebar grips that incorporate the same Lizard Skins grip tape used on the Slugger bats. It also has a Gates belt drive, a carbon fiber fork, 29-inch custom wheels, and a rear drum brake.
Although NAHBS 2015 is now wrapping up, the Louisville Slugger Wood Bat Bike will be moving to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, where it will become part of an interactive display.
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