Bamboo is stronger and more resilient than steel
Some ingenious people have started creating bicycles with frames made out of bamboo, rather than steel, aluminium or carbon fibre. Bamboo is very strong, resilient, and available all over the world, which makes it ideal for making bike frames in a sustainable way, instead of using advanced technological processes to make steel, for example, which puts even a bicycle out of reach for many of the world’s poorest people.
Columbia University’s Earth Institute is experimenting with Bamboo-framed bikes. The idea of Columbia’s Bamboo Bike Project is to source cheap bike parts from Asia, rather than whole bikes, and build bamboo frames. In the USA, various tech start-ups are making bamboo bikes. In the UK Oxford Brookes University’s Joining Technology Research Centre has created a bamboo bike which was exhibited at a major cycling exhibition in 2011. Inventors Shpend Gerguri and James Broughton wondered whether bamboo might be the perfect material for a bicycle. They were won over when tests showed them that it had the strength of steel, alongside the responsiveness of carbon fibre. After careful analysis of many types of bamboo they hit on one – a trade secret – that was perfect for a bike frame. Their bikes are available now for £1,399.
If buying one doesn’t satisfy you, instructions are available to make one yourself, on the site Instructables, which shows you a step-by-step approach to creating your own bamboo conveyance. Although this is probably for obsessional hobbyists, rather than ordinary bike riders, who probably would be better off buying one from a shop.
Photos from Bamboo Bikes.
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