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The Sustainable Transportation Solution: London’s Bamboo Bike’s

By Bamboo Grove on May 24, 2018

There’s a raging debate about what to do about traffic, pollution, and all the other problems that come with modern transport. For many, the bicycle seems to be the obvious solution to the problem. Bikes pollute less than cars. They’re far more affordable than your average car and we’re not even talk about gas prices. However, modern bicycle materials aren’t very sustainable. They don’t allow for the smallest carbon footprint possible. The reason is that carbon fiber, while lightweight and strong, is very hard to recycle. It can’t be melted down and returned to its original form like aluminum or steel.

Many point to the fact that carbon fiber is a very dirty material to work with. Specifically, it requires the use of toxic resins in the manufacturing process. That being said, it’s a material that doesn’t really encourage people to build or repair their own bikes using carbon fiber. Figures show that most people replace their racing bike every 3 years. Meaning that every 3 years, even more carbon fiber is added to the junk heap with little chance of being reused.

James Marr, is the founder of London’s Bamboo Bicycle Club. Marr, a former wind turbine engineer, saw a need for a sustainable and durable material for his passion. Thus he began to look for ways to cut out the waste of bike building, while making the hobby more popular. He began to research bamboo and its potential for being just that wonder material. Bamboo always has a reputation of being associated with food or home decor. While bamboo is excellently used for these means, it underplays just how strong this material is. Bamboo has been a popular building material in Asia, where most of the plant is grown. Marr says that the wonderful thing about bamboo, is that it can be grown from seed to harvest in only 4 years.

Another aspect that Marr has fallen in love with, is that the production of bamboo stays away from the more caustic means that most plants are cultivated. Namely, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Cultivation also looks to ensure that natural forests aren’t clear cut to make room for product.

Mar claims that most people in charge of the bicycle industry are still just focused on the bottom line, and not about the aftermath of the explosion in bike popularity. His clubs workshop makes around 500 bicycles a year. The workshop gives a two-day session for building your own bike, for the cost of $835 US. The club has seen growth in Germany and Italy, with expansions in Canada and South Africa coming soon.

Bicycling isn’t a hobby that is going away any time soon. What we need, for the future of it, is a focus on the future and the environment. Cycling is better for your health and the planet than driving a car. Now, we need to focus on finding a way to make cycling even better than it already is, and to avoid the cyclical economy of buy and abandon that is happening with this boom. Perhaps building your own bamboo bicycle is just what’s called for.

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