Consider yourself quite the origami expert? Can you assemble an IKEA wardrobe with your eyes closed? Do cardboard boxes flood you with happy memories of making forts as a kid? Get excited, this guy has literally just manufactured a super sturdy bike — made entirely out of cardboard. The kicker? It costs roughly the same as your lunch to make — a minuscule $10 per vehicle.
This cycling enthusiast/marketing genius is one Izbar Gafni of Cardboard Technologies, who's really putting the cycling into recycling. He cites his interest in cardboard utility developing as stemming from the invention of a working canoe made from the humble cardboard. After speaking to not one, but three engineers, Gafni was told it was impossible to apply this logic to a useable cardboard bicycle. Ignoring this advice, he pedalled on (sorry) and created the first eco-friendly, operative cardboard bike.
How does one essentially craft a functional bike out of cardboard? Quite easily, according to Gafni. Using cardboard of varying degrees of thickness, he folds the cardboard on itself to increase thickness and durability — making it strong enough that it can actually support the average human weight (and then some). After he's fashioned the cardboard to the ideal shape and dimensions, Gafni applies resin to resist rain and other weather conditions and applies a coat of paint. For those who aren't content with mere feet pedaling, there's also the option of purchasing an attachable electric motor. Here's the building process if you don't believe us:
It's an idea that avoids the pesky rusting of steel bikes. Riding on this cardboard contraption has taken recycling to the next level — all those discarded shoe boxes, all of those boxes used to move house, transformed into a mode of transport that does not harm the environment. For people who live in areas with high bike thievery rates, despair no more; the bike is so cheap it's probably not worth the energy deployed trying to steal it.
The bike is not without its resistors — critics have asked why Gafni doesn't account for the manpower that has contributed to manufacturing process, only advocating the $10 worth of material used to make it. Questions of efficiency have been brought up, as the amount of time and manpower dedicated to the manufacturing of the bike being deemed as unnecessary. Qualified bike experts have also questioned if the single speed setting of the bike would be useful at all in difficult terrain.
The bike has featured on the streets of New York as part of the bike sharing implementation. It's not quite on the market yet, but Gafni has indicated that it will retail for around $60 – 90.