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'All the old-timers like it': Alberta man builds rare steam-powered bike

An Alberta man has done what industry took a pass on decades ago: build a working steam-powered bicycle.

Steam is in Todd McBride’s blood

A retired engineer is recreating some memorable steam age machines. 1:55

An Alberta man has done what industry took a pass on decades ago: built a working steam-powered bicycle.

Steam is in Todd McBride's blood.

"My grandfather used to run steam equipment here about 100 years ago on the Prairies. He was always interested in steam. Now that I am a retired engineer, I hobby and build things," McBride told CBC News.

  • EXPERIENCE the sights and sounds of a working steam-powered bicycle from the Alberta man who built it, in the video at the top of this story.

So he took that technology and ran with it.

"I tried to keep it authentic but of course I had to use modern stuff. I used bearings, sprockets and chains, which would not have been authentic," McBride said of his steam-powered bike.

"We found a 1940s Columbia bicycle. It was the oldest bike I could afford. My daughter painted it up here and we kind of got it looking a little bit classic."

Todd McBride says his steam-powered bike is a hit with old-timers. (James Young/CBC)

While it's a labour of love, McBride isn't blind to his creation's shortcomings.

"It won't be my main form of transportation," he said with a smile.

"It rides a little heavy if you are comparing it to a modern bicycle. It's 1900s technology."

McBride doesn't imagine his bike will be serious competition for those trendy electronic ride-sharing bikes.

"But it would be novel to ride it down to A&W for coffee. All the old-timers like it."

And how did he come up with the name?

"I guess it's a sentimental thing," he said.

"When I was a little boy, he was always proud to tell me about his steam days, so I figured I would name it after him: Coultis Model B."

With files from James Young

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