Bamboo Bicycles

I’ve rented my share of bicycles in third-world Asian countries. They’ve always been beaten up, rusted, falling apart, and hardly able to peddle. But, they’ve gotten me around.

Now there may be a new alternative to these two-wheeled lemons: the bamboo bicycle.

Designed by Craig Calfee (who normally designs carbon fiber frames for professional racers), the bamboo bike is being touted as a cheap and sustainable transportation alternative in developing countries. The design is still being improved upon with the end goal being the ability to build such a bike without the use of power tools.

The idea is so intriguing that the Earth Institute of Columbia University is sponsoring Calfee on an upcoming trip to Ghana to explore the possiblities of bamboo bike making in this impovershed nation with the idea that cheap transport will allow more people the opportunity to find employment and get to their jobs.

In the meantime, Calfee’s bamboo bikes are creating a buzz among road racers for their strength, endurance, and ability to better cushion the shocks and jolts of a long ride. At $2,400 a pop, however, this carbon fiber supplemented model certainly won’t be the version manufactured in Ghana.