Bamboo bicycles grown to order – from bush to bike to Britain

Bamboo has been used to make bicycle frames for more than 100 years, but while the material is lightweight, environmentally friendly and cheap to produce, its use is usually confined to basic models for the developing world or prohibitively expensive designer bikes.

The latest range of bamboo bicycles from California bike builders, Masuelli, is ‘grown to order’ using a local supply of bamboo.

The bikes can hardly be described as cheap, but while the ‘All Black’ track costs £1,500 it promises to be far more exclusive than other bicycles at this price.

The bikes are available in Britain from

Bamboo bicycles

Bicycles are an extremely efficient and environmentally-friendly way of moving people and cargo, and in the developing world bamboo bikes offer many advantages over the traditional steel-framed variety.

Bamboo requires significantly less land and water to grow than other trees, and can absorb up to 5 times more CO2 and release up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. It can be harvested after 4 – 5 years, and re-grows easily

California-based Calfee Design helps entrepreneurs in the developing world to build their own bicycles out of locally-grown bamboo.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) said: “Bamboo is plentiful, available locally and grows well in dry areas with little irrigation. The building of bamboo bikes does not require electricity or expensive equipment and is labour intensive, so provides much-need skilled employment and apprenticeships.”

Cycle insurance with whistles and bells

Cycle insurance from the ETA includes new-for-old cover for theft and accidental damage (race events included), third party insurance, personal accident cover and if you breakdown, they will even come out and recover you and your bike.

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