The knife-sharpening bicycle

Peter Kahugu of Banana Hill just outside Nairobi makes a living using his bicycle.

And no, he is not a professional cyclist.

AfriGadget reporter Afromusing and I had an opportunity to interview Peter who has modified his bicycle with a belt, a set of tensioning pulleys and a grinding stone to make it a knife-sharpening machine. By kicking the bike up onto its stand and engaging a gearing system, he is able to use “leg-horsepower” to drive a grinding wheel and sharpen knives while “on the move”.

Peter has been at this for 2 years now and he makes about Kshs 500 ( app. 10 US$) a day by riding his mobile workshop from client to client sharpening all their knives as he goes. The grinding stone he uses has lasted an astounding 2 years and he has had to replace his drive belt a couple of times but that is as simple as cutting up a long strip of rubber from an old car or bicycle tire inner tube.

Be sure to click though on the image for video on YouTube of the Peter and his bike in action.

The knife-sharpening bicycle

Author: Ntwiga

I am a committed technophile and music lover - you can find my blog over at

76 thoughts on “The knife-sharpening bicycle”

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  9. Hash, not only did you walk past the guy, you are in the picture and in the video.

    Check out the top left quadrant of the photo above.

  10. It is a very common device in Basil’s small cities. Tho be honest, I grew up in Rio de Janeiro. When I was just a little child this kind of device was very common. This photo bring me very good memories.

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  12. This is great, I grew up with this gadget back in the fifties in India, and the last I saw of it was in the ’70s when I moved to the USA. I remember being amazed at the ingenuity involved and also huge sparks would fly during the sharpening process, which looked like fireworks to us 8 year-old boys. Thanks for the story !

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  14. Amazing, now that is entrepreneurial enginuity for you. Don’t wait for it to come to you go get it. I wonder how much more can be accomplished with his kind of thinking.

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  16. This method was still fairly popular in the old districts of my hometown (Poznan, Poland) when I was growing up, however on my recent visit I learned that the last old fashioned knife sharpening biker passed away last year.

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  18. This contraption has been used in India for decades now. I remember seeing this on the roads as a small kid. When I ask my Grand dad he tells me he has seen it as a small kid too… probably for a long time indeed 🙂

  19. Interesting to note that the bicycle actually comes from China and that the Chinese have presumably indepently developed their own sharpening procedure for their knives (n.b.: almost all knifes sold in Kenya are also Made in China, no matter if they come with a Made in Germany Logo). I wonder if they use the same system?

    The knife-sharpening bicycle is a perfect example of “added-value” 😀

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