About us

The Paper Bicycle was designed by Nick Lobnitz in 2006, and production started in 2009. Their hand-built in rural Scotland, one at a time, normally by Michael. Their made to last,  to be used and above all to be a joy to own. I also licence the frame design to the Swiss company Velobility who use it as the basis for bicycle share schemes in cities across Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

My vision

When cycling I move slowly enough to see, hear and taste the world around me, and I feel a part of it. I am a fast-moving pedestrian who touches the world around me. I am happier, richer and have more freedom than if I drive. I have no wish to wear a uniform of lycra and yellow, and no wish to break a sweat, or break the law.

The more cyclists there are the quieter and faster a city becomes, there’s less space needed for cars leaving more space for people. Its easier to see each other, it’s easier to care for each other and its easier to be a part of our community.

Crucially it’s not just the cyclists that move quickly, but the cars and vans find streets that are less congested and parking closer to where they actually want to be. All together making cities that are richer happier and more efficient than they would otherwise be.

I make bicycles that are about going from one place to another without a thought to the machine. To me they are beautiful not because they look beautiful, but because they just work and leave you free to think about something more important than oily chains. For me the artistry in engineering is to create things which people could imagine being no other way, machines that we forget are machines, objects that are soulful. For me any bicycle is better than no bicycle, but a Paper Bicycle is something a little bit special.

Design story

In 2006 I was making Carry Freedom bicycle trailers for the Royal Mail, and noticed that their bicycles were in terrible condition. As a side project I studied why their bicycles suffered, and set about coming up with something better.

The Royal Mail are tough customers, their bikes have to fit everyone, young/old, large/small, male/female, be absolutely bomb proof, endure crazy mileage and be everyday practical. Also the obvious step of protecting the chain with a chain cover was impossible as these just get smashed.

“…so I looped the rear frame so it followed and protected the chain, while at the same time supporting the rear wheel, and thus the Paper Bicycle was born.”

Over the next few years I developed the design on paper in my spare time, before finally collaborating with a local frame builder to make the first prototype in March and April 2008. I trialed this over the summer of 2008 before I brazed a set of five 2nd generation prototypes, which are largely the Paper Bicycle you see today.

I approached a frame maker I had previously worked with in Taiwan, and worked with them over the winter to get the frame ready for serial production. The first production of Paper Bicycle frames were made in March 2009. The first finished bicycle was delivered to Ben in Leeds in January 2010.

My Background

My name is Nick Lobnitz, I am an Engineer, one time farmer and Silversmith. I live and work on a farm in southern Scotland, and trained as a mechanical engineer at Glasgow University. As a child cycling was the only way to get around independently, and from there it became how I got to University.

Over the years I awoke firstly to the fun to be had mountain biking, then to the convenience of the bicycle as cheap/fast transport, before finally seeing how bicycles often underpin places that are nice to live in. While staying in Copenhagen and Groningen I saw how cities where the bicycle is a normal way of getting from one place to another are not only nicer places to be, but simply more productive economies.

I abandoned my plans to design and build robots and instead settled down to applying my skills to furthering the bicycle as daily transport, hopefully reaching parts of the world that do not yet cycle. I had no idea how to get into the cycling industry, until in frustration I designed a replacement for my awful mono wheel bicycle trailer. I realised that this was actually good enough to sell, and so began what became the Carry Freedom City.

Carry Freedom launched around the idea that part of a cars appeal is its ability to carry stuff, and if a bicycle could carry the same stuff as a car could then it could replace a car. Trailers are a brilliant way for a bicycle to carrying huge amounts of stuff occasionally. So Carry Freedom becomes Car   Free   .

It turns out that trying to run a bicycle company, and a bicycle trailer company is simply too much work. So I sold Carry Freedom in 2013 to its first customer Used GmbH, and now continue as their designer. Its like watching your first child leave home and make their own way in the world, I am a very proud father.

Legal details

Paper Bicycle is a brand of Simple City, which is the trading name of Nick Lobnitz. Our registered office is:

Simple City High Clunch Farm Stewarton Ayrshire KA3 5JT
VAt #: GB 829 138 511

Intellectual property

If you would like to licence the frame, talk to us first. Your not the first, and it’s polite and easy. If you copy the frame without permission, we will seek damaged and take action to stop you.

© 2006-2013 Nick Lobnitz. The words ‘Paper Bicycle’ and the bicycle logo are trademarks. US Patent – US D612,300 S cover the bicycle design and aspects thereof, European Community registered design 001505512-1, 001505512-2, and 001505512-3 cover the bicycle design and aspects thereof.  UK and European Community unregistered design right and copy right also covers the bicycle design and aspects thereof.

3 thoughts on “About us

  1. Nice bike… but mainly I wanted to draw to your attention that Intellectual has 2 L’s in it, not 1 as you’ve spelled it rather prominently on your About-us page.

    (Oh, and I heard of you via your Dorset Cereals promotion).

    1. Thanks Adam

      I’m afraid we don’t yet have a spell checker set up on our admin page, so the spelling across the site will be awful. I can do many things but spelling consistently is not one of them. Its embarrassing though when I fail to spell intellectual correctly.

      Nick

    2. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for pointing out the spelling mistakes, it’s very much appreciated.
      We spell-check all our work with a book called “Spolling for Begooners”.

      Alix.

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