Thank you all for allowing me yet one more entry onto the Bike Collectives: The Think Tank. What follows are two articles that many of you I am sure have seen, and a few of you may not have. I found it very interesting on many levels. The first level is one of a philosophical nature: Will this in fact revolutionize the bicycle world? Even more importantly, does it hold the possiblity of revolutionizing the global world of transport? On a more macro basis, does it have positive implications for what bicycle cooperative are doing now, and if so, what are they? A practical, reliable, fully serviceable $90 to $100 brand new bicycle certainly creates possibilities, but what exactly are they?
So enough of my thought clouds. Here are the articles:
Cycle on the Recycled: A $9 Cardboard Bike Set to Enter Production in Israel
August 2, 2012 • 12:30 pm PDT
The last time your purchased something made entirely from cardboard, chances are it was a box to pack up your belongings. While the sturdy material is perfect for moving your stuff, an inventor from Israel has figured out a way to make cardboard move you. Using nine dollars worth of materials, bicycle enthusiast Izhar Gafni has created a fully functioning, water-resistant bicycle, made, from seat to spokes, entirely of recycled cardboard. The technology makes the environmentalist's choice mode of transportation even a bit greener and easier on the wallet.
The all cardboard bike is shockingly durable: it can carry riders who weigh up to 485 pounds. A layer of coating atop the cardboard shields the bike from the elements and gives the finished product the look and feel of lightweight plastic. While the cost to make the bicycle ranges from nine to twelve dollars, the manufacturer expects to sell the vehicle for sixty to ninety dollars depending on the optional addition of an electric motor.
“It's going to be a game-changer in the bike world,” says Giora Kariv, an Israeli artist and a longtime friend of Gafni's who made a documentary about the project. “Like Henry Ford who made the car available to anybody, this bike is going to be cheap and available to any child in the world, including children in Africa who walk dozens of miles to school everyday.”
According to Kariv's documentary, Gafni's cardboard bicycle was inspired by news that an inventor had succesfully built a cardboard canoe. Gafni's bike design was initially deemed "impossible" by three engineers, but over the course of three years, Gafni proved triumphant. He has since made four different prototypes and even created a training bike for youth using origami techniques to mold and strengthen the material.
Gafni's next steps involve establishing a company to produce and distribute his cardboard creation to the world market. He's currently working with investors to have the product ready for mass-production and worldwide distribution by next year.
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The CARDBOARD BICYCLE PROJECT
The Cardboard Bicycle Project is a new, revolutionary and green concept that produces bicycles which are made of durable recycled cardboard. ERB is an active partner who manages all the business and financial aspects. The first commercial model of bicycles is designed for large companies as a vehicle for the employees and to large cities as a cheap, light-weight vehicle and parallel to it the electric model is being developed. The Cardboard Bicycle can withstand water and humidity, coated with a strong layer of brown and white material, making the finished product look like it is made of hard lightweight plastic and can carry riders weighing up to 220 kilograms.
The cost to make the bicycle is around $9-$12 and the manufacturer expects that the cost to the consumer would be around $60-$90 depending on what parts they choose to add on.
ERB leads the world wide business activity of Cardboard Bicycle in Israel and abroad. Q&A's: What was the biggest challenge in working with cardboard? The biggest challenge of the cardboard bikes development was to learn and develop a whole new know how and SWOT in regards to the Cardboard material.
What did you learn from the experience? What start up nation learned: Nothing is impossible!
Is it patented? All know how, working and production techniques are closed within multi claims IP.
How far along is the development of the product? The development started 3 years ago, since there was no know how in regards to the Cardboard material, first 2 years were devoted to learn the properties and behavior from all aspects of engineering tools, strength calculation and analysis, and establishment of the IP that protects all this know how.
Do you have a manufacturing and marketing plan already in place? We did not put together any marketing plan since we understand that this task will have to be planned with our strategic partner that we look for now. We know for sure that designing the shield with the Logo of a city, company or any entity we will gather with, will bring his power of marketing and PR that will help market the product. We have other products in our future pipeline as wheel chairs, baby carriage and more.
Does the company currently have any assets? The real asset of the company is the unique know how and IP which includes all aspects of strengths and weaknesses calculations of the raw material, fire and waterproof techniques and the ability to produce almost any product such as furniture's, wheel chairs etc'.
When will the company get toythe point where it is manufacturing?
The Company now raises $750K that will bring the company after one year of operations to a full and detailed manufacturing plans for the first 2 platforms. The commercial bikes for companies and cities (BOM – $10, 9 KG), and the kids bike (BOM - $3, 1.5 KG). These models will be almost 100% recycled materials and will have the options of adding an electric motor. At this stage we have only the prototype for the commercial bikes as shown on the video (serial production for the adult bikes with or without the electric motor).
I look forward to the conversation this might start. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration of these possibilities.