bike construction of this type could be a development tool in third world countries—for whom bike travel brings goods to market and doctors to the sick.
however, the hemp and the bamboo, organic to organic, change in concert with each other over time, avoiding the delamination problem with the original static carbon joints. And while this was a pointed development process that has a great similarity with a modern industrial product, it’s
really more aligned with the raft- builders and palace-constructors of old, who did exactly the same thing with bamboo thousands of ago.
So, why isn’t the world riding bamboo? It would seem that today’s cycling customer has a great deal of faith in man-made technology, but little in naturally occurring technology. The idea of trusting your ride to something that you can grow in your backyard doesn’t generate the same trust that a more distant and less DIY manu- facturing process can. Nevertheless, Calfee sells more and more bamboo bikes every year. Sure they’re more expensive, as they all have to be handmade, and they are a bit heavier than a similarly-priced carbon bike (Calfee’s bamboo frames come in at 4–6 pounds per frame for about $3,000) but they match the values of a lot of today’s cyclists: handmade bikes, produced locally, of local materials
that were grown instead of mined. Its carbon footprint is minimal and won’t persist on the earth for thousands of years after its use. Beyond our privileged shores, bike construction of this type could be a development tool in third world countries for whom bike travel brings increased goods to market and doctors to the sick. Most of all, this bike brings a cyclist’s connection with the outside world even closer, using forms inspired by nature to create a bike that owes more to the garden then to the mineshaft.
Bamboo is not the one and only answer to the question of how to build a better bike. It’s not perfect, but neither are any other frame materials out there. But more than its ride characteristics, its green pedigree, or even its eye-catching look, its greatest strength is that it points our imagina- tions towards nature in order to meet challenges and create innovation.
At Clif Bar & Company, we believe food should be all natural, organic and delicious, and that it should nourish your body to give you the energy to do the things you love.
F O R Y O U R B O D Y , F O R T H E P L A N E T, FOR PERFORMANCE – CLIF BAR.
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