In the current economic climate, its been a bit rough for those that want to go green on a budget. Not everyone can...Read the rest of this article
Building bamboo products like bikes makes subway look old
by Matt Jansen on December 22, 2009
Bamboo products offer an alternative to mainstream materials like metals and plastics that appear in most consumer goods today. Bamboo grows quickly and is adaptable to many climates making it a compelling renewable resource. It also creates an opportunity for people to work with raw materials directly and connect with nature if they grow their own. But the subway creates opportunities too right?
Yes, it’s a more efficient way to travel because less energy per person is expended and less carbon is pushed into the atmosphere than if those same people used cars. One look at a bamboo bike flying past you on the sidewalk while you hurry toward the subway may convince you to try something new though. Building bamboo products like bikes can be a very rewarding experience for anyone who chooses to do it themselves but as with most things, there’s a catch.
It’s expensive. Some self-labeled tinkerers spend upwards of $1,000 making their own bamboo bike. That’s because it takes some effort to make the bamboo strong and bind it at the necessary junctures to form a bike frame. What will that expenditure buy? The bamboo, hardware to make a single gear or multi-speed bike, and and expert to teach you how. Of course, once you know how to build it the second one is certainly cheaper without expert guidance.
And that’s consistent with a trend beginning to take hold where bamboo bike shops are appearing in more places with locally “grown” bikes available. Those participating in the movement are hopeful it will grow into something more than a trend and that’s probably dependant on how durable they are and at what price point they settle at.
An average consumer probably isn’t willing to spend $1,000 for a bike even if it does have green props but economies of scale are sure to drive the price down.