At first I thought it sounded a little funny, but it seems that bicycles made out of bamboo is the emerging trend in the world of cycling. Before this is dismissed as another patronizing tree-hugging post, hear me out. Bamboo is allegedly the weapon of choice in bicycle construction these days.
Apart from bamboo being a fast-growing plant grown in the tropics (including Nigeria), Mark Lee highlights reasons for bike builders preference for the material.
Bamboo has a lot of characteristics which bike builders really like. It’s lightweight, strong, has good longitudinal stiffness and good vibration damping characteristics, making it comfortable. In fact it compares favorably to carbon fiber in all areas. Throw the facts that it’s fast growing and cheap into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a potential winner.
An American company which specializes in customised bamboo bike designs states that bamboo are even stronger than the carbon fibre frames…
These bamboo frames are much stronger than the carbon frames so popular in these categories. This inherent strength lends itself to mounting and even integration of key accessories such as racks, fenders and lights.
This trend has such a strong fan base that there are self-help tutorials teaching people how to make their own bicycles at home. So the question that interests me is : Where do they get their bamboo from?
Calfee Designs provide information on their bamboo source as being from Africa. Proving that there is some demand for “our” bamboo. That’s if we take an active interest in growing it. Here’s a 2005 report on bamboo production in Nigeria for those who have picked up an interest.
You’ve got to admit though, the bikes look really good!
Photo, thanks to Calfee Designs