Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Motorhome bike makes Portland appearance

Posted by on November 10th, 2006 at 9:39 am

[*Welcome Treehugger readers: Don’t miss this follow-up story about Brian’s motorhome bike.]
———————- reader Bob Crispin sent in these photos after seeing this wayward pedaler on the streets of Northeast Portland.

Amazingly, the guy claims to have ridden this contraption all over the U.S. and down to Mexico.

According to Bob,

[Snug as a bug]

“He said his design was inspired by the moon rovers and the moon landing vehicle, the super structure and the shiny panels. The interior was sweet too, looked comfy, and had a map holder and lots of neat nooks and crannies to store stuff.”

This thing just blows me away. Bob says the guy talked like a serious engineer, had been on the road for several years and that the bike was very well built, and even “appeared to be light given what it was.”

The craziest thing is that despite days of torrential rain, Bob said it was dry inside the cabin. Here are more photos (click image to enlarge):

[Rear view of the cabin]

[The cockpit]

[I’d be proud of it too!]

Wow. You just never know what you’ll come across out there.

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  • Tony Pereira November 10, 2006 at 9:51 am

    I’ve seen this rig several times near Citybikes over the past few weeks and was just thinking yesterday that you should write an article about it. I really should stop and check it out a bit more. I saw him riding one day and he had a huge grin. Looks like fun!

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  • Fred November 10, 2006 at 9:56 am

    I lived in Davis, CA about two years ago and saw him there. He would come through town about every six months or so. He seemed like a very friendly guy and I was amazed at how well the bike performed and its reliability. I probably saw him four or five years in a row and he was always cruising around on it with a big smile.

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  • West Cougar November 10, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Dude. I saw that on the side of the road when we road down the coast over the summer. We weren’t sure if it was truly mobile or not. Or for that matter if it existed or not… it was a hot day. 🙂

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  • gabrielamadeus November 10, 2006 at 10:03 am

    seen here a few months ago:

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  • Shane November 10, 2006 at 11:05 am

    I met and talked with this guy several year back in Corvallis. Cool machine he has. It looks like he has made some improvements over the years.

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  • tonyt November 10, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    Friggin’ awesome. If he put a solar panel on the roof, he could get that thing totally wired!

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  • BC November 10, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    More like an RV than a “motor” home.

    Cool machine, nonetheless!

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  • beth November 10, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    This man and his mobile home were featured on the cover of the now-defunct Car Free Times about 9 or 10 years ago. When he stopped by the shop I recognized him immediately.

    According to that article, the inventor has had little more than a high school education and taught himself what he needed to know about engineering through tiral and error, and a knack for understanding how things work. It’s an ingenious design and shows his talent immediately. He did tell me that it weighs “a whole lot” and it apparently takes quite a lot of push to get the forward momentum going! Brilliant.

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  • jeff November 10, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    wow…Dr. Seuss’s greatest hits… what an imagination this guy must have!

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  • encephalopath November 10, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    What’s his name?

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  • Randy November 10, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    I met this wonderful man too and took some pics of his machine. He has a flywheel in the back that helps rev up the speed of this monster when he’s cruising on the highway.

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  • alex November 10, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    saw him years ago in Ashland, he was around a while.

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  • organic brian November 11, 2006 at 3:08 am

    I passed by it late on Friday… there were soft lights in a back window. Candles? I was thinking how cozy it must be and how awesome to have a pedal-powered house. Someday…

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  • Michael November 11, 2006 at 7:01 am

    Something new for Burleigh to make!

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  • adam November 11, 2006 at 8:07 am

    organic brian,

    lets try to build a couple of them based on his inspiration?

    we might get ticketed by the cops, but I would rent that for a weekend around town!!

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  • tom November 11, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Pretty dang cool !!

    Reminds me of me an oversized velomobile. Velomobiles are kind of like oversized trikes, with storage capacity, a brief, nonspecific explanation for the unfamiliar. I’m been checking out the Lightfoot Velomobile, Stormy Weather, that will start being produced early next year by Lightfoot Cycles, a company in Montana (I don’t work for them) Expensive but a year round vehicle like “John Does” beast.

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  • organic brian November 11, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    OK Adam, we’ll recruit Aaron for the drafting capability. I learned the living space is made w/ insulation sheets taped w/ metal tape. Looks great for having gone around the country for several years.

    I live about five blocks from where the contraption has been parked lately, oughtta take some time to check out the engineeering.

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  • William November 12, 2006 at 8:36 am

    I also saw this cyclist and RVbike in Davis, Ca Oct 2005. Spoke to him. He had lots of road stories, said he had just come up from Mexico.

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  • jose November 12, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    It was interesting because my touring buddy had actually seen him down in san diego. Then when we were riding up thru Big Sur, CA, we caught him one morning and spoke for a bit.
    His rig definitely put ours to shame. I tried to get on him about releasing design schematics. It sounded like he had surely considered it, but I’m not sure how jazzed he was on that. Seems like it could be a good way to financially support extended road living, but maybe its just not how he wants to do it…

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  • Sully November 13, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Ditto Fred and William’s comment about seeing him in Davis, CA. I lived there for 6 years and saw him often–usually parked on the street by the Co-Op. Looks like the rig has some recent modifications.

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  • SKiDmark November 13, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    Motorhome? More like a pedal-home. Needs a solar-panel and a Stoke Monkey.

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  • vj November 13, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve got a nice picture of Brian here ( and a couple other here (

    I ran into him in North Bend, on the coast, over Labor Day Weekend.

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  • BURR November 14, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    He was parked across the street from CityBikes at SE 20th and Ankeny yesterday.

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  • daniel November 15, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    hahahah, that guy is cool. last night after i locked up my bike next to plaid pantry on 19th and ankeny he poped his head out of that bike and asked me for something.

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  • kilgore trout November 17, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Yeh, he’s got a good gig. Saw him in Big Sur and Cambria. Tries to come off as a Rasta dude but seems like a back east NY hustler.

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  • refasalifer November 21, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    I just saw the rig and the man in front of city bikes. He was talking with a friend (his) and I mentioned that I saw the bikeportland article – he must have been having a shit day because he sort’a grunted back – “great another damn magazine I am in and get no money from!” He then asked for a donation saying he was broke and hungry – I said “lets head to food not bombs, it should be happening soon.” He said he couldn’t afford food not bombs. Each time I tried to mention something like “bike portland is a local website site… food not bombs is free…” he just retreated into his rv and uttered angry words.

    not a good day I suppose.

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  • Jonathan Maus November 21, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    if you (or anyone else) see this guy again tell him I’d be happy to buy him lunch and a drink or two.

    He can call me at (503) 706-8804.

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  • jose November 21, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    re: 25
    I think he’s from Canada. But now that I say that, I’m not sure why, maybe something he told me…or his accent…

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  • judyofthewoods December 1, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    My hero! A pedal trailer is my plan B if ever I should loose my home, or just want to take to the road. There is another guy, Steven Roberts, who pedals around on two wheels, with a high tech equipped recumbent. Been doing it for some years too.
    Very inspiring. If anyone should see him, please let him know the link, I am sure he would be very interested in seeing what another road brother is doing.

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  • Brad December 9, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    I like this guy! Hey, I started a pedal powered motorhome as well…

    Cheers to Brian!


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  • Rad-Spannerei blog » Fahrradwohnung February 17, 2007 at 4:01 am

    […] Im Zusammenhang mit der Ausstellung von Andreas Slominski in Frankfurts Museum fĂĽr Moderne Kunst haben wir vor einigen Wochen bereits einmal ĂĽber das Fahrrad als Wohnung berichtet. Brians Fahrrad ist eine richtige Wohnung, er schläft auch im Fahrrad. Das Rad ist im Design den Mondlandefahrzeugen der sechziger Jahre nachempfunden. Mit seinem Rad reist Brian seit etlichen Jahren durch die USA bis herunter nach Mexiko. Cruiserking hat Recht, es wundert einen, dass die Industrie diese Idee noch nicht aufgegriffen und eine Fahrradwohnung auf den Markt gebracht hat, gewissermaĂźen als holländische Variante der chromglitzenden Mobil-Heime, die man auf amerikanischen StraĂźen sieht. Photo: Bob Crispin […]

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  • Scott Mizee February 17, 2007 at 8:07 am

    uh english is a little easier for me to read. Guess I need to work on my foreign language skills. Is that German?

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  • Andrew July 26, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    hey ya\’ll from canada… this is a wild bike /home i have been building bike trailers for behind bikes and am currently turning mine into a elcamino style vehicle powered by a homelight chainsaw engine maybe 30cc\’s at most. will be used for taking me and my daughter to the local pond to race our rc boats…. will try to get good pics when finished… keep up the great work:)

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  • Mark A August 10, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    That is a cool ride! I met him in Davis CA and chatted him up about it. It has a flywheel as well as about 5 rear derailleur in series for a total of at least 15,625 gear combinations and perhaps as many as 43,046,721. It is made out of aluminum angle and foam insulating panels. The guy was a bit fried but the bike was really cool.

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  • Mark in SC March 21, 2008 at 9:42 am

    How about a tandem for more torque?
    Anyone know more detail of how the flywheel works?

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  • RVing on two wheels « In The Spin March 27, 2008 at 6:03 am

    […] Read the rest of the story and see more pictures. Chandler says the bike has been destroyed. […]

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  • rvguru April 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I am a life-long camper and RVer always interested in innovative ways people travel and enjoy the roving lifestyle. This is certainly a way cool example of innovation and personal freedom but best of all it is it is affordable and has a low impact on the environment.

    I have helped many a tent camper \”get up off the ground\” and into a popup or larger RV as an introduction to the RVing side of camping and am interested in finding unique RVs and ways people economically improve their camping machines.

    Two of my latest discoveries are a slideout bed that comes out the back doors of a camper van (home made but very cool) and a commercial product Western RV News calls \”The Coolest Camper Ever\” on the front page of their April 2008 edition.

    It is a 700 pound popup type toyhauler camper that is truly awesome. It is called the Go and can be viewed at Check it out. I am thinking of towing one behind my camper van.

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  • Velophilia | The Camper Bike May 1, 2008 at 7:09 am

    […] covered the re-building of the camper bike some months ago, but this is the first time I’ve seen the new version in the wild. […]

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  • tori May 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Could be the start of a new trend in bike campers. Winnebago, listen up!

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  • Becky July 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Here are some other grand sculptures that use pedal power.

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  • any updates? December 29, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    lots of people love hearing about brian including me. im building my bike camper now. see ya later tators.

    i hope to see brians rig 2000 miles from here myself when i paddle out there.

    where is brian?…

    he def needs a solar charged cell phone prepaid with xtra airtime cards to stay in touch with the fans lol.

    i wonder if he worrys about windstorms,muggers,rabib dogs or being hit by lightning in that metal box?. safety tips?. road laws or police hassles?.

    brian we need ya buddy! 8).

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  • scotty from the January 3, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    what kind of momentum motor does he use?.did he build it or did it come off of something else?.

    is anyone there or is this story deceased?.

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  • kcallin March 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    A bit of bad news I read about the man that owned and rode that bike, while he was staying in a small town somewhere some “good ol boys” destroyed his vehicle and beat him up pretty bad. I know nothing else about it.

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  • […] is another unique pedal RV at the Bike Portland blog. Here is another site that discusses this […]

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  • chrehn November 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Dude… I am not worthy. Keep up the amazing work.

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  • me jedi bikehouse December 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    “quote” A bit of bad news I read about the man that owned and rode that bike, while he was staying in a small town somewhere some “good ol boys” destroyed his vehicle and beat him up pretty bad. I know nothing else about it.

    what?. if so theyre true scumbags.i havent heared anything like that myself and i watch the site for brian updates daily. hang in there brian.

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  • Eric R. Apple January 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I met this fellow and his homecycle one late summer evening in San Diego in 2005. 17 miles from the border so I bet he got to Mexico : ).

    I bought him a sammich and showed him where to camp without officious notice. Rode the thing once around the lot too.

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  • coyo7e April 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    This guy spent the winter in Eugene, OR, about 5 blocks from my house. He’s got a bigger, better, and more badass version, now!

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  • 9watts December 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Did anyone ever take a good photo of the underside of his bike, with all those derailleurs hanging out down there? I thought I had taken one from about 7 or 8 years ago when he passed by my house in Berkeley, CA, but that was before I met a digital camera and I don’t know where the photo ended up, or if I actually took one.


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