Although used-up wine barrels can be turned into items such as planters, wineries generally just throw the things out. Lance Rake isn't a fan of such wastefulness, so he's developed a new use for the barrels. He wants to turn them into cruiser bikes, one of which he's already built.

Rake – a professor of Industrial Design at the University of Kansas – is no stranger to us at New Atlas. He's previously built a bamboo/carbon/balsa e-bike, developed a woven bamboo frame material, and designed a kit that allows Indian entrepreneurs to build bamboo bikes using simple tools.

On a recent trip to California, however, he saw some furniture that was made from old wine barrel staves. "The curved lines of the wood reminded me of a bamboo bike I did a while ago, and I thought 'I could translate that fairly easily into a bicycle frame,'" he told us at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

The resulting prototype Cooper Bicycle does indeed have some pretty nice curves, along with an attractive patina. The latter comes from the winemakers initially charring the inside of each barrel to add to the taste of the wine, after which the wood additionally becomes stained by the booze. In fact, Rake added very little finish to the oak-wood frame.

He designed the bike so it could be made in kit form, with buyers simply bolting the different frame members together. It currently has a two-speed coaster-brake rear hub, although he's looking into equipping it with a derailleur.

Ultimately, Lance plans on making the design open to woodworkers in wine regions, so they could generate revenue by transforming otherwise-unwanted old barrels into kits or even fully-assembled bikes.

"I could see how on winery tours or something, you should be riding on a wine barrel bike," he said.

And if you're more of a whisky person, well … it's a little late now, but you probably would have liked Renovo's limited-edition Glenmorangie Original bike, which was made from whisky cask wood.

Designer website: Lance Rake

View gallery - 5 images