If you thought that cardboard was reserved for pizza boxes and moving, think again. Engineer and all-around genius Izhar Gafni has figured out how to build a bicycle out of one. And his invention could help the developing world become more mobile.
Cardboard is often seen as a fairly bad material. It isn’t waterproof, and becomes soggy and weak when wet. It bends easily, rips without much effort, and is pretty ugly. But for all that, it does have two major advantages: it is cheap and easy to work with. Which is one of the reasons why Gafni decided to build a bike out of it.
Gafni’s bike is made almost entirely of cardboard. That makes it very light–20 pounds, compared to the 30 of your average bike. It also makes it cheap: just $20.00 to buy. Raw materials for a cardboard bicycle cost just $9.00.
Said Gafni of the bike, “I’m repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts at all.”
And yet, despite the weight and price, the bike is remarkably strong. The introductory video shows Gafni, a fairly portly individual, biking around on it with little trouble. But when the bike finally does break, just take it to the nearest recycling center and it will be turned into another useful product. Quite green.
Gafni hopes that the bikes will find use in the developing country, where a means of transportation can mean the difference between a livelihood and starving.
In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organisation wants to build with our technology for Africa