Save the world with a cardboard bike!
Can a Cardboard Bicycle save the world?
News is buzzing about the amazing cardboard bike that could save you money and even change the world! What, you say? A cardboard bike? Is it for real? Does it really work? Is it strong enough? Can it go through water? And what if it rains? Will it get soggy? What if you light a match? Will it burn to the ground? Why, that's impossible let alone save the world!
Izhar Gafni with his invention
My friends, I'm going to answer here all your questions and show you this amazing invention that really works! And maybe just maybe, by the time you're finished reading, you too will be convinced that you CAN save the world with this economical, "green" and fully functional bike!
Fully functional you say? Yes, my friends! And once made available to the world, this innovation may finally be able to provide affordable transportation to those countries where transit is an absolute necessity that can't always be afforded.
Could you see yourself with one of these money-saving cardboard bikes? Of course! They look snazzy and sleek and they certainly won't break the bank! Are you a skeptic? Well then, scroll down, read on and learn more! I hope to make you a believer. Just let me know what you think at the bottom of the page! :D
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The beginning of the Cardboard idea.
Cardboard - An idea comes to life. - Phillip Bridge and his cardboard bike.
Photo Credit: BBC Radio Sheffield
The first cardboard bike was built in 2008 by Phillip Bridge, a 21 yr. old design student at the University of Sheffield Hallam in England. As part of his University design degree Phil came up with this idea of building an economical alternative to the ordinary bike.
What first inspired this creative design student to build a cardboard bike? Phil was thinking about the number of bike thefts that occurred frequently everyday. It's a common occurrence we're all familiar with. Did you know that on average a bike is stolen every 71 seconds? Well that's what made Phil think about a way to solve this problem. Using the power of design Phil came up with a cardboard bicycle so cheap there would be no practical incentive to steal it! And he did it with his cardboard bike!
Of course, when Phil built his bike it was for most part just a project for his university degree. Phil wasn't thinking at the time of the immense connotations it would eventually have 4 years later with Izhar Gafni's invention. Or was he? At any rate, Phil Bridge was the first to make the cardboard bike!
The difference between Phil's prototype and Izhar Gafni's bike is that not all of Phil's bike is made out of cardboard. The tires, chain and brakes are of metal and rubber as any normal bike. According to the young inventor, the actual cardboard bike can be built for about $8 but including the non-cardboard components will bring the total to around $30.
A bicycle made from cardboard.
Do you like the idea of a cardboard bike?
Would you build a cardboard anything?
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A Cardboard Bike from 100% recycled material.
Photo Credit: AVI KATZ
When Izhar Gafni made his first cardboard bike it was the realization of a long-time dream. An Israeli engineer working in industrial design Izhar is no newcomer to manufacturing and automated mass-production lines. But this uncanny inventor also happens to be an avid bicycle enthusiast.
Bicycles are his passion, his hobby. As Izhar himself relates, one day, while buying some parts in a bicycle shop, he overheard talk of something new, something never heard of before, a cardboard boat!
Izhar could not get what he had just heard out of his head. Going back to his shop the idea of the cardboard boat kept haunting him. Then the idea hit him! Why not make a cardboard bicycle!
A bicycle made completely from cardboard?
When Izhar first voiced his plans about building a cardboard bicycle, he was told it was impossible. But this intrepid engineer was not daunted.
One day, while watching a documentary about the first jumbo jet, one of the engineers 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. This gave Izhar the inspiration and encouragement he needed to fulfill his dream. His told himself just try it!
So Izhar began with some simple cardboard creations. At first they looked something like a cross between a packaging box and a bicycle, in Izhar's own words, like a package on wheels!
But Izhar did not give up. He soon came to realize that his cardboard bicycle should really be a bicycle and not just look like one. He then mustered up all his vast background experience in engineering to develop his prototype. The bicycle he dreamed of would be called The Alfa!
The Cardboard Bike that couldn't be done!
Introducing The Alfa Cardboard Bike!
Izhar Gafni's new cardboard bicycle is actually based on the principles of Japanese paper art Origami. Origami comes from the Japanese word ori meaning "folding", and kami meaning "paper". It is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, which started in the 17th century.
The Japanese folded paper until it sculpted or formed tiny creations. The amount of folding can be combined to make intricate designs or works of art! Gafni applied the principle of folding behind the art of Origami by reasoning, "[if] you fold it once, it's not just twice the strength, it's three times the strength."
To quote Gafni: "Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right,...".
What are the benefits of the cardboard bike? - Light, cheap and durable!
The Alfa took Izhar Gafni three years to build. Two years just to figure out the qualities of cardboard and how to make it durable and one year to actually build his bike. The finished product is here displayed in all it's simple glory! Keep in mind that Izhar's cardboard bike is made completely from cardboard and recyclable material!
- Lightweight, at only 20lbs, the cardboard bicycle can support up to 24 times its weight!
- The tires, made from reconstructed car tires can never puncture and do not need inflating.
- The brakes, wheel and pedal bearings are all from recycled material and won't need changing for years.
- The Alfa is completely waterproof AND fireproof! Coated with a special resin made by Gafni, the Alfa can safely glide through water without risk of becoming a soggy mess.
- Gafni's cardboard bicycles are super economical. At only 9 dollars cost production per unit these bicycles can sell for less than 20 dollars a piece. Remember, Izhar Gafni's ultimate goal is to be able to provide third world and poorer countries with his amazing bicycles for free.
- The cardboard bike is so cheap it won't matter how long it lasts.
- The cardboard bike is so cheap, theoretically, it will never get stolen.
How can a cardboard bicycle save the world?
Izhar Gafni's ultimate dream is that his cardboard bike will change the world! Change it, yes, and save it too! Imagine the help his bicycles could provide to the world's most traffic-congested cities, helping people in remote parts of the Third World get from place to place.
Imagine the ability to set up low cost production facilities all across the world creating jobs and providing an essential means of transportation as well.
Yes, Izhar Gafni believes his bicycle can change the world not only because of the social benefits it would provide for all concerned but because it will eventually change the way people think. Izhar plans that the money saved from low-cost production will enable them to give away the bicycles for free to poor countries.
In Gafni's own words: "In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organisation wants to build with our technology for Africa,..."
If Gafni's idea spreads and catches on, imagine a world where benefits can be shared by everyone and not just a chosen few!
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