The Forger of Bicycle Art


Philippe LeBlonde

Meet Philippe LeBlonde, we arrived to his house thanks to, we actually arrived by car, by the ride that Mike had given us. When we arrived he was in his garden eating with his neighbors and having a drink, he of course invited us to join. he does not define himself as anything but to me he is an artist, inventor,bike mechanic, great host, entrepreneur, a creator of bicycle art. A man who humanizes steel by forging it into art pieces that become symbols of the city that he chose to live in Whitehorse, Canada.

It took us very few minutes to get acquainted, we already liked him. Even before we met him, you see his house is a landmark in Whitehorse, because of a giant sculpture he has in his front yard of a dome made by bicycle wheels. A sculpture that he had to fight the city council to have, because apparently they did not like him to have it in his yard, but the truth is that the sculpture brings tourist curiosity and has become and emblem of the city.

The Forger of Bicycle Art

‘So you guys will sleep in the basement, hope you don’t mind the stuff here”, he said it in a laughing matter. As I was walking to the room we were going to stay I started to see many newspaper articles about him, from past to present. I started to read them. I learned that Philippe had a school bus that he adapted into a moving bicycle repair shop, then he rode it over northern Canada offering to fix bikes to the people who could not go to a mayor town or city to get their bikes fixed. Considering that northern Canada is one of the most secluded parts of the world, his mission was more than noble. He also invented a bicycle that could be used to transport heavy loads, so that local people could use it for jobs that would benefit from saving petrol. I was impressed, when I asked him about all of this he just gave me a nod and said, “Yeah I did that and a lot of things, but that does not matter I like to keep myself busy”.

His Bus and His House

His Bus and His House

And he always did, in fact he studied another career when he had already finished another one. He did tell me which one but to be honest I do not remember. After the tour he showed us one one of his masterpieces, a sort of clockwork piece in which certain metal pieces move to keep plastic balls moving, he designed everything and made it work, Annika, Mike and me starred at it for a good couple of minutes. He had won are respect. The piece reminded me of what Einstein had said about cycling, as long as you keep moving you will never fall off. A true piece of bicycle art.

So he housed us, feed us and laughed with us for three nights. He reminded us that you really don’t have to meet people for a long time to have an impact on your life. All he had to do was present himself.

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