Bamboo bikes wheely good for the environment

What is stronger than steel and aluminium and absorbs shock and vibration comparable to carbon?

By Ian Smith
Friday, 26 April, 2019, 09:26
One of the bamboo bikes at Berwick Cycles.

It’s bamboo and now this natural product is being used to make bicycles.

This week, Berwick Cycles on Bridge Street became one of the first shops in the UK to stock the bamboo bikes.

“We’re excited to be associated with this innovation,” said owner Tim Astley. “This isn’t a gimmick, these are high-quality state of the art bikes which compare with other types on the market. Whether off-road-touring or around town.”

The bamboo frames are made in Ghana where bamboo grows abundantly – up to 20m tall in three years. After harvesting, the tubes are dried for several months and then are assembled using a German-developed clamping device.

Hemp fibres and epoxy resin are used to join the tubes which are smoothed and varnished, after which they’re finished and tested in Germany. Each frame is completely unique.

German company my Boo builds the frames in partnership with the Yonso Project – a non-profit organisation.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

All proceeds made in Ghana go directly into educational scholarships and microloans and together with UNICEF the company has provided 150 bamboo bikes to young children so they can cycle to school. Currently around 35 employees work for the project in permanent jobs and receive fair payment.

“There’s a full range of different bamboo bikes and they can be customised to suit the individual,” said Tim.

This includes electric e-bikes.

Tim, formerly a management consultant for a global insurance business, took over at Berwick Cycles in 2017.

There has been a bike shop on the site since the 1930s, starting as Chappells and, for 30 years from 1987 was run by Ian Wilson.