10 Nov Bamboo Bike
Most summer holidays my daughters and I attempt some kind of practical project together. Last summer it was a Bamboo bike. We enjoy cycling so it seemed like a really cool thing to make and ride.
The first thing we did was search the internet for ideas and instructions, there is a fair amount out there .
For those with a technical bent, we found a battered old bike and took it to pieces until we were left with just the frame. Then we cut off the bits we needed, like the tubes with the bearings for the front forks, and the pedals, the seat post and the two brackets that hold the back wheel on. We made a jig to hold these pieces in the right position from a sheet of MDF and scrap wood.
The bamboo poles we bought from Carwinion Gardens. These had to be cut to length and dried slowly in the oven, then shaped and glued into position between the metal parts with epoxy resin. When this was dry we wrapped glass fibre tape and resin around all the joints until we were satisfied it would be strong enough. Finally we sanded all the joints down and applied a final coat of resin. The frame completed we set about reassembling the bike using as many of the of the old parts as we could, but inevitably there were a few that we had to buy for safety’s sake.
The finished bike is not the finest in the world. It is quite flexible, but we soon got used to that and I for one enjoy riding it, and have to admit I ride it far more than my daughters . Using a bicycle is a fantastic way to get about, good for mind, body and the environment, and the feeling of delight when riding passed a queue of traffic is hard to beat. Add to that, riding a bike you have made yourself, knowing that you have recycled, reused and re-manufactured an object to be almost as green as it could possibly be, is pretty damn satisfying.
It is a great project to do with kids; there are lots of ways for them to get involved, it is a good introduction to mechanics, materials and environmentalism and they really enjoyed seeing the bike come together; we had loads of fun. I would recommend it to anyone.
If anyone wants help or advice to build their own please get in contact through Transition St Agnes.
And here is Bamboo number Two. Destined for my brainy younger daughters’ commute to Imperial College via Hyde Park.