We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles

I heard about Jim and Shane while on a teardrop trailer gathering in northern California and just their simple Facebook name said it all: We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles. The bicycle tour is still going on, but once they hang up their helmets—the tiny house building will commence.

we-quit-our-jobs-greenhouse4

The two men from Northern California had both been raised in mountain communities and wanted to return to the land after working for several years. The idea of quitting their jobs and riding around the U.S. on their bicycles coincided with their love of the outdoors, gardening and working with their hands.

“We were growing tired of living in the mundane and felt the need for a dramatic change,” Jim and Shane said. “The idea of traveling by bicycle was appealing to both of us from the stand point of its simplicity, its affordability and the exposure to possibilities. With traveling by bicycle, you see and experience so much more in the slow pace of pedaling than you ever could in the enclosure of a speeding car. We also were interested in exploring the country in search for new ideas and a new place to live, one that would accommodate our dream of building tiny homes.”

we-quit-our-jobs2

Jim has an interest in small structures and Shane has a strong background in sustainable living. After stumbling across Lloyd Kahn’s book “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” in a small book store in San Francisco, they decided that they would build a tiny home for themselves after finishing their trip.

“Our experience with bicycle touring has solidified our interest in simple living and has taught us the virtues of getting by with just the basics,” they said. “We have a particular interest in the salvaged aspect of the Texas Tiny Homes and the ones that emphasize outdoor living and engagement with the surrounding environment.”

we-quit-our-jobs-greenhouse3we-quit-our-jobs-greenhousewe-quit-our-jobs-greenhouse5

Their tiny house idea has expanded further to become a tiny house community. They want to create a bicycle centered communal living space that includes several tiny homes, a common meal and meeting space, large garden and greenhouse, gray water system, bicycle powered laundry machine, and photovoltaic and water heater panels. They also want to build with salvaged materials. The men recently spent a few weeks building a greenhouse with recycled materials for a host family in Pahrump, Nev. After their pedaling tour, they will be on the lookout for a town to host their tiny house community.

“Finding a town that is willing to work with us on our idea of tiny home community has proven to be a challenge,” Jim and Shane said. “We want to find a place that is in need of affordable living and be able to provide it in the form of tiny homes.”

You can follow their tour and see their beautiful photos on their Facebook page and on TrackMyTour.com.

bike-community-tinyhouses

we-quit-our-jobs

Photos by Jim and Shane of We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

HouseTrike

housetrike 1
Bikecamper specially developed for homeless people, refugees and urban nomads

My name is Bas Sprakel, I am 45 years of age and live and work in Amsterdam and I am an artist.

I went to arts university in Utrecht and Melbourne but my biggest passion was traveling. So after arts university I traveled through many countries and continents in many different ways. I traveled by plane, by car, by coach, by truck, on foot, by bike and by boat. I traveled fast and comfortable, I hitchhiked on motorways and even waterways, walked barefooted for 300 miles slept in fancy hotels and under bridges.

I just loved being on the road. To me personal it is absolutely clear that we are nomads by nature. Destination is just a pointer to me, a means… being on the road is the real goal and passion to me. It inspires me and relaxes me at the same time. It is the perfect activity for reflection, for appreciating life, for seeing the world from a different pace and angle, for also seeing the human condition more clearly and understanding it better.

housetrike 2

I don’t travel as much as I used to do. Relationship and work prevent that a little but in my artwork there is still a lot of hints of being on the road. Last September for instance I wrote a a Zen-poem with chalk on the streets of Amsterdam, 5 kilometers in length, right through the old city, even crossing a river writing on the boat. So I still traveled, but this time really slow and on my my knees. Saw my own city from a unique angle and met a lot of people from a totally new perspective.

housetrike 3

Another big interest is architecture, both from the outside being surrounded by bricks, tiles, glass and concrete in the many forms and shapes and from within living in inspiring places. I always had very interesting studio’s and dwellings. I worked in a beautiful old factory with trees growing inside from the walls. I lived in castles, small damp labor houses and I built a boat (top) from waste-wood I found at construction sites.

housetrike 5

Those two major interests combined and finding inspiring ways to live easy led me to the idea of the Housetrike. To me it was important that is was multi-functional and practical for all most everybody who is living without a roof above their head. It didn’t need to be luxurious but it had to be a device solving their basic needs, both psychical and mentally. So it is a bed that can be locked from the inside so you sleep well and feel fresh the next day. The box has a lot of space to store a lot of stuff but is still small so it is stil light and easy to use. Also extended it is still small and therefore you can sleep anywhere you want, also in the city without being noticed that fast. It provides in a very sober way all the basic needs.

housetrike 4

The Housetrike is a practical solution and not so much a artistic or romantic interpretation. I lived rough and I know what is needed most and that is safety at night and being low key and above all being flexible. That provides so much peace and freedom. It is a first aid device but it can be used for a long time and in all climates. Moreover it is designed to be used in the city and at the same time you can leave the city and stay some time in nature, bringing food for weeks.

There is a lot that I can say about the Housetrike but what I like about it most is the utter simplicity. That took me quite some time. I tried a lot of other solutions It is multi-functional and at the same time still one simple clean idea and form and it really works

The next step is finding the funds to further develop the trike in polyester and than showing its usefulness by example and make a big exhibition tour trough Europe.

housetrike 6

Gregory’s Homeless Homes Project

Many readers of the Tiny House Blog might know Gregory Kloehn best from his Dumpster home that was featured on Inside Edition and the Rachel Ray Show. Gregory now has a new project in the works. The Homeless Homes Project, which features tiny structures built out of illegally dumped garbage and industrial waste are becoming more than an environmental stance or garbage art. These little homes are fast becoming a collaborative project between different groups who want to help shelter people who live on the streets.

homeless-shelters

With names like R2D2, Romanian Farm House, Uni-bomber Shack and The Chuck Wagon, these structures are built from pallets, bed frames, futon frames, doors, plywood, OSB, paint, packing crates, car consoles, auto glass, refrigerator shelves and anything else Gregory can find in local dumping areas around his home in Oakland. He looks for anything that has real wood, tempered glass and sturdy frames, and only purchases nails, screws, glue, paint brushes and saw blades. When a home is completed, he pushes it into the street, take a few photos and then gives it away.

homeless-shelter-gregory

“From that point on, I have no more say in it,” Gregory said. “The homes take on a life of their own. One was stolen, one was sold, one was firebombed, one is in a neighbor’s backyard with dogs living in it, the rest are still on the streets with people living in them.”

Gregory’s initial concept of these homes was not to house the homeless but came about because of some research he was conducting on homeless architecture and the various structures built by people who live on the street. He was inspired by their resourcefulness to take found objects and create homes and a livelihood from them.

“I was inspired to take these same materials back to my shop and put them together in a more permanent fashion,” Gregory said. “After about a week of collecting and building, I had a 21st century hunter/gather home, built from the discarded fruits of the urban jungle.”

homeless-shelter-window

“This sat at my studio for a number of months, just collecting dust,” he continued. “One rainy night, Charlene, a homeless woman I’ve known for some 10 years, asked if I had a tarp for her.  I told her I didn’t have one and I went back inside. As I walked past the home, it hit me, I should give her this. I ran back out and told her to come back tomorrow and I would have a home for her.  She and her husband Oscar came back the next day. I handed them a set of keys and a bottle of champagne and watched them push it down the street. It felt so good that I started making another one that same day.”

homeless-shelter2-inside

homeless-shelter-inside

Gregory’s now working on the projects with several community groups and people who come to his shop to help. The plan is to move into a larger space that can accommodate workshops and larger builds. He said his Dumpster home project taught him many lessons that he’s applying to the Homeless Homes including sticking to his original vision.

“Regardless of what others say, or what you may even say to yourself about an idea, if you think it has merit and you want to do it, you should just do it,” he said. “Don’t let petty details derail your desires, you can deal with those later, what’s important is the essence of your ideas.”

Gregory’s interest in tiny homes came from building a lot of different homes and condos over the years and realizing that the smaller projects actually made him happier.

“There is a spontaneity and playfulness in making small homes that traditional houses do not offer,” Gregory said. “It reminds me of making forts as a kid, no city planners, no architects, no crews, no bank loans, just my ideas and my hands.”

homeless-shelters-Gregory-Kloehn

Photos by Gregory Kloehn

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]