Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to build a bamboo bike

copying the frame of a good looking bicycle
We received a mail from Berlin-Bamboo-Bikes with the instructions to make a template from a bike which we want to build.
So far so good - No problem!
Sabine and me went in to the city to find a bike which could be tough enough to go around the world. Someone who is seems to be an open minded rider should lend us his bike to copy the form on an old wallpaper...
It was 9pm when it started raining. – No bikes, No template!
The only idea we had, was visiting our upcoming flatmate Joe who lives nearby. With our wallpaper covered by my jacket we run to his flat which was in the 3rd floor of a pub called “Kult”. That was quite intercultural when we met him with his dad sitting in the kitchen talking about the olden days. Anyway, for some reason Joe just pulled a frame from a bike he wants to build a racing-bike with out of his room.
- BINGO! That will be the one!!
That frame was a 28inch one. We had a rethink. And a redecision! – We need a 26 inch. We decided that because we thought there a probably people on earth which are not that tall as Europeans!? Not sure about that but in fact in Asia it´s much more popular to have a 26inch bicycle.”.
-So we couldn’t use that frame. “Good bye, Joe we have to go to find a 26 inch bike”-
"There are people in that pub downstairs!". We stepped in: “Anyone here who has a 26 inch bicycle? We need that! We want to copy the frame to our wallpaper!” People were just starring at us! Sure! We didn’t wonder about that. - Of course, we wanted to make people getting a bit interested in our project.
Phillip was the guy who was working in that pub. “Here is the key! Take the bike, please leave it locked at the place you took it from.!" - No more words.. Sabine and me looked to each other: ”Should that be the one? YES nice and easy!" No questions, No stress – He is probably very happy with his bike?! Once we started with our job (I study surveying – I am able to to this ;-)), he came along and asked: "So is there an engineer who will build that bike with you? - "I AM THE ENGINEER!" [...]

Hitchhiking with bike-templates
...After my stopover in Dresden I decided to hitchhike to Berlin. All I needed was a sign to show where I want to go. So I used bike-frame-templates for that. Wow! How sustainable is that?! ;-) Also the bike touched the spirit of open-minded-hitchhiking. It suits, I thought!...
Berlin-Bamboo-Bikes Workshop
[...] My girlfriend Nastka was already there when I reached the workshop 1hour to late. My first impression was a workshop which had a very “wooden” charme. Sawings and saws. And heaps of bamboo! 2 guys where already doing something related to that. The supervisor , the guy I was mailing an calling in advance several times, I met in front of the hidden basement-gate cutting some of the fast-growing-plant. That´s clearly that what I expected.
Small introduction round – Let us choose the bamboo! [...]
It took 4 days to finish the frame. I didn’t know how fast the time goes by when you focused an passioned with something. It´s completely the opposite from when I sit in university listening to one of those “interesting” speeches…Whatever.
We decided to choose bigger trunks of bamboo, also the glue and and hemp fibers which are holding the bike together we easily doubled. So it´ a way heavier than a usual bamboo-bike, but much stronger! Only fire could destroy the bike… Well.. aslo a big crash with a tank is not that what the bike is made for…

Click here for more pictures.


  1. Wow, I guess I found something other than surf school australia to catch my fancy. This one looks interesting to do.

  2. Yeah, this caught my attention too. I need some activity of my own while my kids are at music school.