Visiting Nao of Tomii Cycles this morning, I finally saw this little gem in person - the bicycle he put together for his son Fugo. It is really something to see a tiny children's bike this elegant!
The frame started out as a regular kid's mountain bike (Nao doesn't remember for sure what it was, but possibly a Schwinn). Stripped of the original paint, it was powdercoated a robin's egg blue and customised with some lovely components and accessories -
and vintage-style reflector in the rear.
The drilled-out chainguard was powdercoated to match the frame.
The handlebars are the Belleville bars from Velo Orange, which are surprisingly proportional for the bicycle's size.
I really like how this bicycle came out. It's beautiful and intriguing, but not "too much" for a children's bike. Recycled frame with decorative and functional touches, coaster brake, single speed, kickstand, nothing fragile or complicated. I like how the caramel accessories complement the pastel blue frame. The padded saddle has a scrap piece of leather stretched over it and matches the mud flap. The wide knobby tires are great for riding in the dirt and grass of the back yard, as well as in the nearby park. When I went to pick up the bike, I was warned that it would be heavy, but I didn't really believe it. How heavy could a bike this tiny be? "It weighs more than my own bike!" Nao clarified, referring to his steel roadbike, and he was right!
Fugo's relationship with this bicycle has been interesting. When Nao presented his son with the bike more than a year ago, the boy was not really impressed. He did not know how to ride yet and was not interested in learning. Then recently he suddenly wanted to try riding the bike. Nao was going to attach training wheels, but Fugo did not want them. He then got on the bike and began to ride, just like that.
The trouble with nice children's bikes, is, of course, that children outgrow them fairly quickly. But looking at Fugo's bicycle and watching him ride it, I still can't help but think it is worth it. Great job, Nao, and happy riding to you both.