As told by (one of my favourite NZ art & design websites) CleverBastards, the Wishbone bikes started in the the bathroom of a 20th floor New York apartment... while Richard, an industrial designer, was a stay-at-home dad. He wanted to build a bike that would enable his young son Noah to keep up with him on their daily walks in Central Park. He then started experimenting with different designs and knew he had a winning design when New Yorkers began approaching him and Noah in Central Park asking where they could buy one.
See their very cool and interactive website here. It describes their philosophy: 'play on, pass it on, get together, take time, there's magic.'
Made from sustainably-grown wood, the running bike has no pedals and is propelled by the young rider's feet, Flintstone-style. The bikes have no pedals and teach children balance and co-ordination, preparing them for a two-wheeled bike with pedals.
The Wishbone Bike converts from a three-wheeled tricycle suitable for just-walking toddlers, to a two-wheeled bike that teaches the confident rider to balance. The Wishbone Bike adapts to meet the needs of a growing child. "We wanted to create a bike that our children could have fun riding throughout their toddler years, until they were ready for a two-wheeled bike with pedals."
Transformational design is at the heart of Wishbone Design's philosophy. The company aims to design products for families that have enduring value and evolve with the families changing needs. "We want our products to become heirlooms, and appeal to design-conscious parents and grandparents. Wishbone Designs are cleverly simple and built to last."
Awarded Best Toy 2009 at the Baby Wereld Awards in the Netherlands and presented with an Innovation Award from the US Juvenile Products. TIME Magazine included Wishbone Bike in its annual Style & Design 100, highlighting 100 influential people and products each year.
Wishbone have also collaborated with other artists to create limited editions.
This limited edition decorative design - endangered snail bike by artist Neal Whittington takes its inspiration from the endangered giant kauri snail of New Zealand, which speaks about the key role of biodiversity to our survival on Earth, and the difference each person can make through simple actions.
This design was done by (a cleverbastard) Shane Hansen featuring a contemporary Maori-inspired artwork - telling a story of flowing rivers and high mountains, of people who share this natural environment, and of their connection to one another.
'Kotahi tanagata - We are one.'
Kids are also able to personalise their Wishbone Bikes with stickers!
As well as choose their own seat colour!
I think that we can learn from Wishbone Design - their approach to designing for children - their use of clever and real sustainable materials, simple and organic form that can be easily put together (and taken apart), their approach to "growing with the user" and collaborations with artists and tools for personalising - stickers and coloured seats for each child to call their own. Wishbone bikes teach children balance and co-ordination as well as are fun and playful. Wishbone proves that good design can go a long way.