Bamboo Bikes on Make (Fishing Interlude)

I have to admit that I’m a bit of a magazine addict, I have subscriptions to Rouleur, Wire, Fortean Times and, crucially for this post, Makezine. My subscription to U.S. Mag Bicycling recently ran out. I rarely get Cycling Plus as I’m just not interested in reading about a road test of a £3000 carbon fibre frame. I feel that if you’re not careful cycling can go the way fishing as a pastime tends to go when it comes to kit and expense*.

It’s Makezine I want to focus on for this post. Make is published by the incredible O’Reilly group, a publishing house run by Tim O’Reilly, the man who coined and defined the words Web 2.0. O’Reilly produce, to my mind anyway, the best instructional manuals and guides that are available. To me though, the jewel in their crown is Make Magazine. This is a quarterly publication for tinkerers, engineers, hackers, coders, guerilla film makers, modders, self-publishers… Ok I hear you, Geeks then.

On the magazine’s blog recently appeared an article about the Bamboo Bike Project

The Bamboo Bike Project is a collaboration between scientists and engineers at The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a bicycle builder at Calfee Design. The project aims to examine the feasibility of implementing cargo bikes made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa. The ultimate goals of the project are:

  1. To build a better bike for poor Africans in rural areas.
  2. To stimulate a bicycle building industry in Africa to satisfy local needs.

bamboo bike

*One time my friend Lee and I went fishing at Longleat. the first thing we noticed was that the wind was blowing from the car-park across the water, pushing debris against the opposite side of the lake, that’s where the fish would be feeding, basic angling knowledge. So we walked all the way round the water to the opposite bank, to where we could see the carp right up against the bank, and set up there with our one rod each, tiny fishing bags, nets, bread and sweetcorn. Then we watched as every single angler got out of their cars and vans, unloaded masses of kit, tents, rods, bait boats, bite alarms, seats, huge tackle boxes… and set up on completely the wrong side of the water. I’m not kidding we were the only people on that side of the lake. We were also the only people catching anything! Every now and again one of them would wander round the lake and ask what kit we were using, or what our miracle bait was, but when we told them it was just our position, they were a bit put out. The main reason being they couldn’t drive over to the our side of the lake, so they couldn’t get their fancy kit over!

Similarly in cycling I’ve seen guys squeezed into Discovery Channel kit riding carbon frames or specialist TT bikes with clipless pedals and £200 wheels, weighing 17-18 stone with their tummy hanging over the top tube. Nothing wrong with being tubby on a bike, I’m carrying at least a stone too much myself, I think it’s admirable to get out on the bike when you’re a bit hefty. But having all the kit isn’t going to help you get fitter, it comes down to two things only… eat less, ride more. I have to admit, I’m failing on that side of things at the moment myself 🙂

Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 10:11 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. COOL BIKE
    Warning!!!
    Clipless pedals are very dangerous.
    I’ve been riding bicycles continuously since I was 5. Have even commuted to work year-round in suburb north of NYC, Had been using Shimno clipless pedals for about 10 years and had several occasions when I couldn’t release from the pedal and dumped over. The last time, at age 58, caused my right hip to fracture. I needed 2 surgeries and 6 months of rehab. After the accident I found out about two other cyclists who suffered hip fractures because they couldn’t release from their pedals.
    Needless to say I took them off my Trek and will never use them again.
    The Pain was not worth the gain.


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