wooden wheels

Posted on June 22, 2009
Filed Under cycling | Leave a Comment

Though I have never owned a car, eat a tofu based diet, play the acoustic guitar in a folk arpeggio style and ride my bike everywhere whilst thinking about things world leaders could do to make their people happier – I am not a hippy.  Why then does this review of a racing bike constructed from bamboo make my heart race and breath come in quick, short gasps? From The Guardian

a-3000-racing-bike-made-001

So, what does it feel like to ride?

When you played with a bamboo cane as a child, and swished it through the air, it felt like energy incarnate. That’s a little how this bike feels to ride.

When I first sprint off, nothing happens for a split second, just like when you swish that bamboo cane. Then, almost before you’ve noticed, it springs ahead as though it has more energy than you’ve put in. It rivals carbon, steel, anything I’ve ridden.

It’s also comfortable. But not like a big, heavy commuter bike with large, bouncy tires. It just soaks up the bumps, with no lolling around.

The incredible part of this bike is that this feel comes from something that grows naturally – technically, it’s a grass. It’s simply harvested and crafted in a workshop. It’s not a hi-tech carbon fibre bike which has been moulded, layered, glued, baked and finished. Even the joints are made of natural hemp.

But will it become the next big material for bike builders? In the developing world it makes perfect sense, but it will be a big task to oust carbon fibre in the west. It took almost a decade for riders to trust that material, and bamboo somehow feels even more alien than that did. Maybe everyone should have a test-ride on Calfee’s bike.

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