The Story of a Hemp Bicycle and a Bamboo Bike Bus

bamboo utility bike africa photo

Photo: Spiegel (Bamboo utility bike in Africa)

Spiegel International have a wonderful write-up (in English) on bamboo bikes. It covers how Craig Calfee's dog inspired him to make a bike from bamboo, How he subsequently won trade shows awatds "Best Road Bike," "Best Off-Road Bike" and "Peoples' Choice" for his bamboo designs, how they were lab tested tougher than carbon fibre.

Andrea Reidl's article goes to explain how Calfee is now passing on his secrets to African villagers so they might have durable, locally made bike frames. Which, in turn, has lead him to his next challenge -- designing a bamboo school bus bike which an adult will steer, whilst transporting half a dozen or so kids with everyone pedaling.

But it was talk of a hemp bike that was news to us.

Onyx hemp bike photo

Photo: Onyx (hemp bike prototype)
Onyx Composites is the brainchild of German engineer Nicolas Meyer. He takes hemp fibre, dunks it in epoxy resin and wraps it around a core of styrofoam. Apparently the resulting frame is about Sixty percent hemp, 15 percent bamboo and the rest is carbon and aluminum," he tells Spiegel, although that figure seems to neglect the foam inner.

Anyhow Meyer then gets a 1.4 kg (3 lb) racing bike frame, which he maintains is sturdier than even a bamboo or carbon fibre equivalent.

The Spiegel article, which is well worth the read, has a great list of folk involved in bamboo bike production, most of whom we've previously noted. But check out:
Boo Bicycles
Calfee Design

As you can see, Bamboo and Bikes, tends to get us excited too:
Organic Bikes Say, Re-Think Your Ride, Consider a Bamboo Bicycle
Bamboo and Electric Bikes Win ISPO Brandnew Awards 2010
Bamboo In A Bicycle Built For Two
Open Source Bamboo Bike Trailer
Bamboo Bike by Calfee Design
BYOB: Build Your Own Bambike
Biomega Biolove Bamboo bike (a B fest)!
Bamboo Mountain Bikes are Growing on Calfee Design
Make Your Own Bamboo Bike in One-Weekend

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