Walking Bike Unveiled

We recently finished our wild project to build a walking bicycle..  We started this crazy technical adventure about 8 months ago in the fall of 2014.  J.P. had an idea to adapt Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest leg system to a bicycle.  He made a quick model and 3d print of the idea in Sketchup and showed it around to some friends.  Roy Wright came on board as the chief fabricator.  Soon after, Blaine Elliott joined the team and added his special attention to technical details.

We spent about 3 hours a night, on Monday through Wednesday each week, slowly progressing through layout, material buying, mockups, jigs, cutting, welding, and bolting.  In the end we had over 400 custom made parts, and couldn’t believe the thing actually worked.

We then submitted it to the 2015 Santa Barbara Solstice Parade where it was met with great interest and enthusiasm.  It was a very rewarding and fun experience for us all, and has inspired many around town to work on projects of their own.  We are now looking forward to some more exciting industrial design projects.

3d print of the walking bike concept


First leg complete!
Roy with first leg complete!
Assembling leg stays
Blaine fine tuning stays and crank shaft.
Welding of chain ring to crank shaft
Final assembly  of legs after paint
Final assembly of legs after paint
Santa Barbara Walking Bicycle Theo Jansen
Completed Walking Bicycle just in time for Summer Solstice Parade in Santa Barbara.





The first test of the Walking Bike.  We couldn’t believe it actually worked!


Follow CARV on Facebook

Special thanks to Shane Downs of Associated Construction for letting us use his shop to build this project.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


  1. Ron Strate

    How much for one of these? It looks great! I’m in Canada. We have a number of parades coming up this summer. If we could ride one up here I bet we could sell a ton of them for you.

    1. JP Author

      Hi Ron,

      We only have the one prototype so far (and it was a lot of work.) We have not sorted out exactly a manufacturing cost yet, but have considered this if enough people wanted one.

      1. Jeff

        Add me to the list of enough people please.

        This is pure genius and art. The only thing that would have made it better is if you replaced the front wheel with more legs. Just amazed by this project.

        Let us know if you ever build more!

  2. Matt hummel

    Hi! First off, great job! The project looks amazing! Do you have the 3d files you created to model this out? I’m looking at building a larger motorized version that will seat 4-8 people for burning man and would love to have something to start to design with. Thanks! !

    1. JP Author

      Hi, Thanks for compliment.

      There are no 3d files for the full sized bike. We just used Theo Jansen’s linkage proportions that you can find online. Then we scaled it appropriately for our bike. If you build a bike style like we did and want it to be more stable, I’d recommend doing 6 legs and put them in two groups of three. You need 3 legs working in series on the same crank shaft displaced 120degrees each to have a stable “foot” You could also just put all 6 on one crank shaft, but turning will be very difficult. Think of three legs together as one “wheel.” I’d recommend getting a model of the strandbeest to learn more about how it all works. This 12 legged model has been built scaled up a lot.

      1 X Wind-powered Animaris Ordis Parvus Strandbeest Model Robot (Beige)

      We just took one side of it and put it on a bike, and attached the crank shaft to the pedals by chain. We did 4 legs because we were lazy, and it is just barely adequate. I would not recommend doing 4. Do 6 at least. Good luck.


Share Your Thoughts