One of the world’s future inventors lives on Donner Summit. Lance Wogsland, a second grader at Donner Trail Elementary, is always looking for his next invention.

For the past two years, Lance, 7, has been working on a solar powered motorcycle. Through trial and error and his parent’s guidance, Lance finally succeeded this year.

The idea of building a motorcycle came to Lance from the movie Grease 2, where Lance watched one of the characters make a motorcycle out of scraps. Since Donner Trail Elementary emphasizes sustainable living, Lance decided to make it a solar powered bike. Every day after school and on weekends, Lance and his parents, Derek and Kammie, worked on the motorcycle.


Lance started the project by going to a junkyard and negotiating for scrap pieces. Lance did the negotiating, not his parents. After spending 50 cents for scrap metal and finding other parts in dumpsters and garage sales over the next two years, Lance was ready to start work on the bike. The motorcycle’s frame is made from an old ski bike (also known as a snow bike, it only goes downhill), while all the other parts were custom made by a welder in the Bay Area.

“There were hiccups and obstacles along the way,” said Derek. “We’d figure it out and go with the next idea.”

Some of those hiccups included the original battery Lance used, which was too small and didn’t hold enough of a charge to get the bike up a small incline. Then the brakes weren’t hitting right because the wheels were smaller than the frame was built for, and a plate had to be welded on to hold the motor onto the bike.

The solar panel that charges the battery is in the Wogslands’ yard. Lance plugs the battery into it and lets it charge for a few hours before hooking up the battery to his bike’s motor, putting on his leather jacket, and buckling his helmet. Then he’s off, enjoying the bike he made from scratch. No one is sure how fast it can go because there is no speedometer, but Lance’s parents aren’t quite ready for him to test the bike’s full potential yet.

Don’t think Lance is only an inventor. This summer he attended science camp in Santa Rosa and surf camp in La Jolla. Lance was also in the cast of Truckee’s production of The Lion King as baby Simba, and played a cowboy in Oklahoma. The multi-talented Lance is hoping to build another motorcycle to sell under his brand name, Lance Moto. Harley Davidson plans on releasing an electric motorcycle in the next year.

“Lance is excited because he beat them by a year,” Kammie said.


  • Karin Carrasco

    Karin Carrasco, Moonshine Ink’s office administrator, has lived in Truckee since 2003 after moving here from New Jersey. Carrasco studied speech communications and journalism at University of Nevada, Reno. Carrasco spends her free time enjoying her passion for dance at InnerRhythms and she also volunteers with the Truckee Donner Historical Society as well as Trails & Vistas.

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