Simple Rowing Bicycle "la Remarianette"

Introduction: Simple Rowing Bicycle "la Remarianette"

This bicycle is really easy to build and to ride. It is also cheap if you recycle two old bicycles to build it. Furthermore, it is quite effective and great training for most of the muscles of your body.

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Step 1: Materials


1- One bicycle (better with coaster brake).
2- Cranks (better short cranks for a child's bicycle).
3- Bottom bracket cartridge bearing,  the sealed type, not the old system.
4- Pedals.
5- Two bicycle chains.
6- Some plastic tube to guide the chain.
7- Metal tube, about 25 mm inner diameter.

You may take items 2-4 from an old bicycle. I bought a long stem because the one in the bicycle was a bit too short for me. I also bought special  tube for chains because it is very cheap, but you may use any plastic tube of suitable diameter.


1-Chain tool
2-Crank wrench
3-Crank extractor

Step 2: Bearing

Fix the cartridge bearing to the stem clamp. If the housing of your bottom bracket bearing is not strong enough it may be dangerous, the bearings are under the threads and the clamp of the stem is holding the housing at the middle. Do it on your own risk.

My housing is made of a very hard resin, I think it is OK. I cut the frame of the bicycle to take it out because I don't have the special tool needed to dismount it.

Step 3: Cranks

Fix the cranks to the bracket. To dismount the cranks from a bicycle you need a crank extractor and a crank key. It's very easy, explained here:

Step 4: Handles

Cut the plastic of pedals and polish to give a cylindrical shape.
Cut two pieces of metal tube and pressfit the pedals inside.
I made a hole in the tube and inseted a small nail for more safety.

Step 5: Front Wheel

Mount a rear wheel in the front fork. You have to expand the front fork, for instance making some leverage with any kind of tool if your frame is steel. An aluminium fork may be expanded using a dismounted hub as in the photo.

I mounted a coaster wheel in order to have a front brake.

Step 6: Chain

Join two chains and guide them from the crank to the wheel using the tubes. The path of the chain in tension should be straight, the returning path doesn't.

You need a chain tool for this work. The use of this tool is explained here:

Depending of the rotation direction you want, you may cross the chains (like me) or don't cross them. Probably the most efficient way is not to cross, like in hand bikes.

If you do not like the tubes, you may use an old dérailleur to guide the chain.

Step 7: Finshed

That's all, the work is finished.

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    3 Discussions

    m a r i a n o

    Some remarks:

    If you don't want to use coaster brakes, or if you want to use hub or
    dérailleur gears, it may be more convenient to arrange the handles in a
    direction that is not parallel to the rotation axis of the crank. That's
    what they do in hand bikes:

    I preferred coaster brakes because I don't want to have lots of cables
    going out of my rotating handle. I also mounted automatic two speed hubs
    for the same reason. Two brands are now making these old hubs again:
    sram "automatix" and Sturmey Archer S2 or duomatic. I published an easy
    way to change a hub here:

    You may not like the idea of fixing the bearing with the clamp of the
    stem, for instance because it is not very safe or because you want to
    use a traditional bicycle bearing. In that case, you may just cut the
    frame of a bicycle leaving only a tube and the bottom bracket, then fix
    (solder, screw, clamp...) the tube to the stem.

    It is more
    efficient to synchronize the hand and feet movement, such that you push
    with one foot while pulling with your arms. This can be done with a
    relation of 2/3 between the gears ratio of the rear and front
    transmissions. I mounted a gear ratio of 2 (46/23) in the rear wheel and
    of 3 (48/16) in the front wheel. If you want to use chainrings of the
    same size you should mount sprockets of 16 in the front wheel and of 24
    in the rear. For same sprockets in the front and rear wheel you may use
    chainrings of (front-rear) 36-24, 39-26, 42-28, 45-30, 48-32, 51-34,
    54-36. Other posible ratios are: rear wheel: 36/18, 38/19, 42/21; front
    wheel: 42/14.