Today I saw a film about bamboo bikes..
I thought "what a great idea! Amazing what people come up with when they are struggling for technology"
Then I found out that they were invented in England .... in 1894!!
Bamboo bikes were first patented in England by the Bamboo Cycle Company Ltd., and introduced to the general public on 26 April 1894. A US patent was applied for in 1895, by August Oberg and Andrew Gustafson, and granted in 1896. However, with the development of tougher industrial metals, such as steel and aluminium, large-scale usage of bamboo to build bicycles never happened.
Though bicycles are a staple of transporting humans, in both rural and urbanised areas, bamboo bicycles are currently not widely introduced; however, with the advent of the Green movement, bamboo is being used again, primarily for high-end racing/touring bicycles. Today, bamboo bikes are starting to enter the market once more as low cost alternatives to the relatively expensive and unsustainable aluminium/metal bikes.
Professional grade bamboo bikes are extremely expensive, with several high-end models (designed for mountain and road racers) having a manufacturer's suggested retail price upwards of 3200 USD. For example, Bambikes, based in the Philippines, sells mountain, road, cruisers, and BMX bicycles for 1700 USD.
Calfee Designs, based in Santa Cruz, California, sells road bicycles for 3150 USD.
On the opposite side of the cost spectrum are the bikes sold in Ghana for the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative. The total retail price for this particular bike is 120 USD.
This giant variation in cost has two main reasons: relative wealth of the consumers purchasing the bikes, and the difference in production quality.
In the United States, all parts incorporated into the bike are high-end, similar to the parts used in professional carbon fibre bikes. The machines used to laminate, waterproof, and join the individual bamboo bikes are state-of-the-art. The Ghanaian bikes, on the other hand, are literally joined together by warming various glues over fires, while sourcing many of the additional parts (e.g. chains, bolts, etc.) from either low-cost Chinese-made parts or local markets. (Wiki)
So there !
Meanwhile - some photos from the house...
Enough for one day ...