Bicycles have long been touted as some of the most elegant and efficient machines ever created. So when you hear about a man who can make them out of cardboard you expect it to be an art project (maybe along the lines of Bartek Elsner’s sculptures) than transportation.
But you would be wrong—and blown away. As you can see in this video by Giora Kariv, Israeli bike-lover Izhar Gafni has designed and built a fully functional bike out of just recycled cardboard. See for yourself:
Joy is evident in Gafni’s work, which is a pretty exceptional feat of design and assembly. Here’s what he has to say about it, via No Camels:
"I really love bicycles, and when I worked in the United States I inquired in California to see if anyone has already thought of the concept of a cardboard bicycle. To my delight, I only discovered similar concepts based on bamboo. But when I started asking engineers about the possibility of producing a cardboard bicycle, I was sent away and told that the realization of my idea is impossible. One day I was watching a documentary about the production of the first jumbo jet—and an engineer on the team had said that when everyone tells him that what he is doing is impossible—it makes it even clearer to him that he is progressing in the right direction. That saying motivated me to experiment with different materials on cardboard, to find what produces the desired strength and durability."
As you can see in the video, he found that strength and durability, and he built a functional, water-resistant bike from recycled materials for a paltry $9. With labor costs factored in, according to Green Prophet, the rig will retail for a thrifty $60 (or $90 with the addition of an electric motor).
In cities where bike theft is common, the low price tag could serve as theft-deterrent (or at least soften the blow of having your ride stolen). Granted, the notion of making something so inexpensive that it’s not worth stealing has implications regarding waste—presumably, there would be a lot of it. That said, a bike like this could be a boon to bike-share programs, and it’s tough to argue against that.
More than anything else, the project is a reminder that it never hurts to re-evaluate how we make things, and that human ingenuity can be pretty extraordinary.