Eco-friendly bikes made of bamboo cane are the latest trend in the bicycle industry. Bike manufacturers have here drawn inspiration from the nineteenth century: the first bamboo bicycle was already presented to the public in 1894. Now the fast-growing raw material has been taken up again and manufacturers such as My Boo in Kiel and Faserwerk in Bremen produce from it bike frames. They are nearly as stable as steel, but significantly lighter. Although bamboo bikes are still rare birds in the streets, the number of suppliers is increasing, as has been apparent for several years at German bike trade fairs.
Social engagement in Africa
An important aspect is sustainability. My Boo manufactures bikes in Ghana, where bamboo grows wild. The cane is dried for months; then plugged together into frames and bound with resin-impregnated hemp rope. Up to 90 hours of manual labour are put into each bike. My Boo works together with the Ghanaian aid agency Yonso Project; the young Ghanaian bike builders have social insurance and receive fair pay. The bikes are then painted and refinished in Germany. The Munich manufacturer Zuri Bike has a similar concept – with frame construction and social engagement in Zambia.
Digitalization of cycling
Another bike trend of 2015 goes in another direction: the digitalization of cycling. The Frankfurt start-up company Cobi wants to make the principle of connected drive, networked driving, available to everyone – with a bike computer based on current smartphones. The system consists of lights, navigation, smartphone holder with charging function, bell and bike computer, and links more than a hundred functions. It can be used as an alarm system or to listen to music. Through an acceleration sensor the app detects, for example, braking action and responds by making the backlight brighter. An idea which in a crowd-funding campaign aroused so much enthusiasm that the goal of $ 100,000 worth of sales was achieved in only three days. The company has just been awarded the Frankfurt Founder Prize. This autumn the system will be on the market in five European countries.
The bicycle fair “Eurobike”, 26 to 29 August 2015 in Friedrichshafen