Ajiro Bamboo Velobike: A "Grown Vehicle" That's Farmed, Not Factory-Made
Images: Alexander Vittouris on Australian Design Awards
Bamboo may seem like a questionable material for making bikes, but we've seen our share of great bamboo bikes -- and hey, there's even DIY bamboo bike-building classes out there. Taking advantage of bamboo's qualities as a lightweight, strong, quickly renewable resource, comes this concept velobike from Australian design student Alexander Vittouris, which is intended to be grown, rather than manufactured.
In response to the relatively high energy costs of metal and assembly of conventional bikes, the Ajiro bike integrates bamboo's natural flexibility and growth process into its product life cycle. Turning to arborsculpture techniques, Vittouris envisions rows of these bamboo bike frames growing and being 'farmed' as they are gradually sculpted into the final form.
As State of Green details, the Ajiro will be a "grown vehicle" that will be molded by an inner skeleton frame via tension, so that variations from the growth process will be not have to be corrected by energy-intensive methods like steam- or heat-bending.
In addition, the Ajiro features a lush canopy and under-seat storage that is also made from woven bamboo. As Vittouris explains for the Australian Design Awards, the Ajiro also features some other improvements over typical velobikes:
The velomobile concept provides a natural source of human power, bridging the gap between car and bicycle by providing on-board storage and canopy protection for the rider. Simplifying the package, the [Ajiro's] rear wheels act as the steering mechanism, with the front wheel providing power input. This removes complexity of many recumbent vehicles reliant on derailleur systems. For stability at the low speeds proposed for urban use, most of the rider weight is positioned over the rear wheels.
Other companies are already thinking about down the "grown, not made" route. Overall, the Ajiro couples lovely design with an intelligent re-thinking of how transportation -- even a sustainable mode like biking -- can be re-designed to make its manufacture less energy-intensive and polluting, and more in harmony with natural processes and materials.
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