Feature

Grow your own bike

A new design concept takes the term "bicycle plant" to a whole new level

The image: Metal bicycles made in a factory? That's so industrial era. Bicycles can also be made of bamboo, a strong, lightweight, renewable resource. But even bamboo traditionally has had to be bent and shaped in a labor- and energy-intensive process before it can become a bicycle. That's where the Ajiro comes in: This handsome bamboo bicycle, created by Australian design student Alexander Vittouris, isn't formed using steam or heat to shape bamboo after it's harvested. Instead, using a technique called "arborsculpture," the bamboo is trained to grow according to the shape of a hard internal skeletal structure. Once the bamboo has grown into the desired size and shape, the skeleton is removed, and what remains is a bamboo bicycle frame. (See an image below.) The bamboo bicycle was recently honored with a James Dyson Award for Australian industrial design.

The reaction: "How cool is the Ajiro?" says StateofGreen. "On looks alone it is impressive," and "its whole design approach may just revolutionize the way in which products are made in the future." Indeed, the concept bike "is probably the greenest vehicle we've ever come across," says GreenLaunches. It won't pollute, and since bamboo can grow up to three feet a day, there could one day be fields of bamboo growing in the shape of bicycle frames, in a new kind of high-speed mass-production. See for yourself:

Image courtesy: Australian Design Award

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