Through a small gap in the trees and down a dirt slope, worn down almost to a small staircase, is Shane Knight’s campsite in Surrey’s “Sanctuary” tent city.
He’s one of several people that have moved into the area, which is down King George hill in a forested area near Bridgeview.
Like others in the camp, he’s set it up with a makeshift tent and bed, along with his few belongings.
But what stands out is something Knight, 38, has been building over the past two months.
Painted red and black is a workout machine, with weights and pulleys for Knight to keep up his fitness regime. He’s gone so far to put together a makeshift barbell.
Knight estimates that he could do more than 30 different workouts with the machine.
“I’ve been doing this eight hours a day; salvaging, building or shaping or something for two months,” he told the Now-Leader as he sanded down the handle for the pulley system.
“Doing it with no shop and no car and with no money, all posed major difficulties.”
Knight said he salvaged all the materials for free, going through throwaway piles at construction sites.
“It gives more meaning to trees giving their lives too because then their limbs get to go to making more really cool stuff than just in a landfill.”
He said he also spent about 30 hours collecting bottles and taking them to the depot for cash to by the ropes, screws and other hardware to put the machine together.
It wasn’t an easy build though, Knight said.
Because the machine is on wheels, he can easily transport it. Knight joked that he could start pushing it around and giving workout lessons to people in the area.
However, depending on where Knight would be sleeping for the night, he wouldn’t always be able to bring it with him. Some nights, he said, he’d have to leave it behind buildings. Come morning, pieces of his do-it-yourself workout machine would be stolen and he’d be back to square one.
“I’m not very easily rattled, I’m from the streets,” said Knight, who grew up in East Vancouver, but moved to Surrey when he was about 27 years old.
”There’s not much that’s going to scare me or bother me or rattle me, but the building of this thing was for sure, by far, the hardest thing I ever did in my life,” said Knight, adding that despite hurting his hand, he kept working through the pain.
This current machine, Knight said, is the third one he’s built. The idea to make his own workout equipment came after he’d previously owned three of the most popular home workout machines, but all of them broke or wore down under the pressure of his workouts.
“Over the course of six months I ruined the pieces of lifetime warranty, celebrity-endorsed equipment — the most three popular things you could buy. I broke all of them.”
Knight said there wasn’t any other equipment that he could buy that he wouldn’t ruin again.
“So I had to make something that I couldn’t break — and this, I can’t break,” said Knight, adding that he’s crashed it “brutally,” but it was barely dented.
“There’s nothing you could do to it. You could be the strongest guy in the world and you wouldn’t snap this thing in half.”
For a while, Knight said he lived in Alberta, but after going through anxiety and depression, he chose to move back home with his mom and brother. He said after a week, his mom sent his brother to live on the street and Knight was told to go with his brother to watch over him as he would use drugs.
Asked if he spent time living on the Strip on 135A Street, Knight said, “Pretty much; I guess you could say I was.”
But now the 38-year-old is looking to the future.
“I want to compete in men’s over-40 national body-building championships in B.C. because in 14 months I’m going to be 40,” said Knight, adding that he feels he has a good shot of competing with the other men.