Feature

The recycled cycle

The $2 million crowdfunding campaign for a $20 cardboard bike

In yet another example of the "all-powerful" bike lobby trying to take over the world, a bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard could soon become a commercial reality, offering people around the world a low-cost, alternative mode of transportation.

On Tuesday, Cardboard Technologies launched a campaign seeking donors to help jumpstart the mass production of an innovative bike made out of corrugated cardboard, plastic bottles, and rubber recycled from old car tires. The campaign is aiming to raise $2 million to secure a production line and get the bikes rolling across the globe within a year.

"Imagine a world where we can literally take garbage off the streets and turn it into something useful," the campaign, hosted on Indiegogo, says. "A bicycle that can not only be used for urban transport, but that can help kids in under-developed countries get to school, and help their parents get to work."

To entice donations, the company is offering investors first dibs on the bikes, along with other perks. A $15,000 donation gets you a couple of the bikes plus a tour of the future factory, which the company plans to house in Israel, home to the bike's inventor, Izhar Gafni.

Last year, Gafni made headlines with a fully functional bike he'd constructed mostly out of cardboard. He got the idea, he said, after hearing about a man who'd built a canoe entirely out of the packaging material. He wanted to see if he could replicate the feat with a hobby of his own: bicycles

Despite the seemingly flimsy material, the bikes are actually quite durable. They can hold over 400 pounds — more than the weight limit on New York City's controversial bike share rides — and are fire and water resistant thanks to a coating of secret organic materials.

The key to that strength, Gafni says, is a lot of folding.

"Basically the idea is like Japanese origami," he says. "If you fold it once, then it doesn't become twice the strength. It's almost three times the strength."

Gafni's business partner, Nimrod Elmish, said last year they hoped to sell the bikes for around $20. They haven't said anything since about a possible price tag, but the materials needed to build each bike cost about $9.

You can watch Ganfi discuss, build, and ride his nifty contraption in the video below:

Recommended

The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more
A front door.
Feature

The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more

The Week contest: Anti-aging quest
Supplements.
Feature

The Week contest: Anti-aging quest

Did Dry January accomplish anything?
Drinking glasses.
Picture of Harold MaassHarold Maass

Did Dry January accomplish anything?

6 amazing homes with domes
House
Feature

6 amazing homes with domes

Most Popular

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
Punitive politics?

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend
Photo of Kura Sushi, a Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain
save the sushi

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'
5 cows lined up at feeding trough.
carbon copy

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'