Grow Your Own Bicycle!


I’m a firm believer that many of our problems will be solved with bicycles. Let me get that out in the open.

Bicycles are a near-perfect form of transportation: laughably cheap to run and maintain, nearly zero emissions (not counting perspiration, of course), the experience of nature, the logical choice in our gridlocked modern cities, and a terrific workout.

But perfectly eco-friendly they’re not. Think about it: at the end of their long lives, bikes become landfill fodder – a heap of rusting, oil-spattered metal and rubber. In order to fully close the loop, one wants the biodegradable bike! Made of bamboo, this truly eco-friendly bike absorbs vibration like carbon-fiber, is as stiff as aluminum, and can be made from sustainable materials. Bamboo bikes are being produced in Ghana, with the ultimate aim of encouraging people to design and build their own. Elsewhere, biking engineers like Brano Meres are playing with the possibilities, too.

If you like the idea, why not check out CalfeeDesign’s US model? (As you’d expect this early on, it’s pricey – but gorgeous). The big challenge, though, is the 100% sustainable-materials bicycle – and that’s going to involve some creative thinking“¦

Image: CalfeeDesign

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.