How’s that for green chic.
Here is a story from Toronto’s The Star.com with a nice quote from Messenger legend and bike shop owner Nadir Olivet of Lacarrera-Cycles.com
Riding a bike made of grass
June 24th, 2009
It’s light, it sucks carbon out of the air and you could compost it. What more would you want from your bike?
Move over Prius, the bamboo bike is the next hot thing for environmentalists.
“Picture a steel factory in the Midwest U.S. Now picture a place where we source organically grown bamboo in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico,” says Jacob Castillo, co-founder of Panda Bicycles, a Colorado-based start-up set to begin producing bamboo bikes this fall.
“We can actually recycle all the materials used and bamboo is a rapidly growing grass. There’s the carbon sequestering benefit as well.”
Bamboo has long been used for scaffolding in construction sites in Asia. It is known for its strength and flexibility. And it grows like crazy â€“ more than one metre a day, under optimal conditions.
All those things make it a perfect material for bikes, says Marty Odlin, founder of The Bamboo Bike Studio in New York City.
“It’s very light and it absorbs all the vibrations of the road compared to an aluminum bike that is very clattery,” says Odlin whose two-day workshops on building bamboo bicycles have a “waiting list a mile long. There’s a lot of demand for this.”
It is considered as strong as light steel. But unlike steel, bamboo is renewable. And it is relatively cheap. Odlin collects his from the side of the highways around New York. He hardens the fibres with flame treatment, glues the tubes together, and binds each joint, wrapping them in epoxy-soaked hemp that hardens.
A team, including Odlin, is working to open a manufacturing plant in Ghana to produce Africa’s first locally made bicycles later this year. The sustainable development project, called The Bamboo Bike Project, aims to create cheap bikes to sell to locals and to create jobs.
“If you can make papier mÃ¢chÃ©, you can make a bamboo bike,” says Odlin, who made his first on a living room floor with a cardboard stand.
Sound too good to be true? There is a hitch. The first commercially available bamboo bikes recently went on sale at actor Colin Firth’s hip eco-store in London for thousands of dollars.
That’s because each one is handcrafted by Craig Calfee, a bicycle designer based in California, explains Nadir Olivet, owner of La Carrera Cycles on Harbord St. in Toronto.
Olivet sells the bikes for $10,000. To order one, he requires a down payment of $8,000. To date, he has sold two â€“ one to a Hollywood actor, the other to a sheik from Dubai.
“It’s like owning a Bulgari (watch),” he says. “I think they are cool but I wouldn’t go spend $10,000 on one.”
Actually you can build one right here in NYC for only $1000.00.