Cedarville professor’s wooden bikes featured in Rolls-Royce, Bentley publication



A Cedarville University professor’s wooden bicycles has coasted into a publication for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts, “Strive for Perfection: Celebrating 110 Years of the Spirit of Ecstasy.”

Jay Kinsinger’s custom wooden-bicycles brand, Sojourn Cyclery, started as a hobby but has become like a second job.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I love building them and I love riding them and any way I can promote that I am happy to do,” he said.

The book, which celebrates the 110th anniversary of Rolls-Royce’s iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, features a selection of luxury lifestyle brands. It included a two-page feature on Kinsinger’s company. The publication was recently distributed to roughly 10,000 Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club members and to all Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealerships.

The engineering professor said the luxury scene is one he had been trying to break into with his bikes.

“They are a clientele that I think would appreciate the bikes,” Kinsinger said.

Sojourn Cyclery has also been highlighted on PBS’s “American Woodshop” and in Kiriakos Iosifidis’ 2017 book, “The Wooden Bicycle: Around the World.” One of his wooden bikes is in the Bicycle Museum of America.

Kinsinger said he sells bikes to people all over the world. There is no typical client ― he makes bikes for people under 100 pounds to over 300 pounds. Each bike is tailored to the individual buying it.

“There aren’t many people out there building wooden bikes,” Kinsinger said.

He has made a commuter bike for an environmental engineer in Baltimore who rides to work every day. He’s made a tandem bike for a Florida couple in their 70s who aren’t really bike riders, but appreciate the wood work.

“These bikes are more than just a pretty face,” he said. “It’s very unique. Sort of a novelty... but it is a smooth ride.”

He also puts on workshops where he teaches classes on how to build a wooden bicycle with some already-made pieces. The classes take three to four days, Kinsinger said. He taught one to Apple employees in San Francisco.

His wooden bike frames start at $3,500. Workshop classes cost about $2,000.

He started working in bike shops when he was 14-years old and worked in them throughout high school and college.

“I’ve always been a bike nut,” Kinsinger said.

He and his wife biked on their honeymoon and their family has biked all over the U.S. and Europe. Kinsinger and his wife ride a wooden tandem in their free time. Most days Kinsinger bikes to work at Cedarville.

Kinsinger has built metal bikes, but said making a wooden bike is more fun and the carbon footprint is smaller.

“I’m not knocking (metal bikes), but it’s very different from wood,” he said. “It’s more fun. I come out of my shop and don’t have to hose off all the chemicals from making a metal bike.”

His bikes are made of laminated walnut. His first wooden bike took about 400 hours to make entirely by hand.

Now his bikes take about 40 hours to make. Part of the process is now automated. Each of Kinsinger’s bikes is produced with the help of a computer numeric controlled (CNC) router. He writes programs for the custom models and then the router reads the programs and uses a spinning bit to carve out the specified bike frames.

The wooden frame of the bike is hollowed out. He said the frame weighs about as much as an aluminum bike.

“It’s a little bit finer than my first handmade model,” he said.

Kinsinger said he used his students to help test the strength of his first wooden bicycle. Later, students helped create a business model for Sojourn Cyclery. Ryan Lee, who graduated from Cedarville in 2018, developed the website for Sojourn Cyclery.

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