Brazilian push bicycle toys

I bought this bicycle made from vine at August Folklore Festival, in Montes Claros city, Brazil.


Bicycle made from vine


Looking for hand crafted bicycles, I found something very curious.
Push bicycle toy is an ancient toy. This image show one made in Portugal at the 1920s.

Here in Brazil, early Portugal’s colony, the art of making push bicycle toys remains in folk culture.

The Museu do Brinquedo Popular (Folk Toy Museum) has a collection of wooden push bicycles made by Sauba and José Gomes.

José Gomes is an artisan from São Joaquim do Monte, city in Pernambuco state, Northeast region.

His puppet cyclists are a kind of mamulengo puppets, type of folk theatre carved from wood and dressed in fabrics. Several characters rides the bicycles: the wedding couple, the “Preto Velho” (wise old black man), and Lampião and Maria Bonita (Lampião’s wife).

Lampião was the most famous bandit leader of the Cangaço, a form of banditry endemic to the Brazilian Northeast in the 1920s and 1930s. Lampião’s exploits turned him into a ‘folk hero’, the Brazilian equivalent of North American Jesse James.


Another example of carved wood push bicycle toys came from artist Alberto Bernardo‘s collection:

The toys he made are for play spaces such as schools, playrooms, libraries.

When I hear someone mocking that “cycling is what you leave out when you grows and buy a car” or “bike is kid stuff”, I’m grateful.

To be a whole human being we dare to be sapiens (who knows and learns) faber (who makes and produces) and ludens (who plays, creates and enjoys). Many people believe that as adults we are only homo faber, who produces and consumes. The stage to learn and play stayed behind in childhood …
Homo ludens was a concept introduced by historian Johan Huizinga. But even Aristotle gave much importance to the issue, as set out in his Nicomachean Ethics, 1127- b – 30 :

Since life includes rest as well as activity, and in this is included leisure and amusement, there seems here also to be a kind of intercourse which is tasteful

Whether biking to work every day, riding weekends, or travelling on special occasions, for me, riding a bicycle is above all and always fun.


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