While it might be difficult to believe that someone created a functional bicycle entirely out of cardboard, that’s exactly what Israeli engineer, Izhar Gafni was able to accomplish.  Gafni, an avid cyclist, inventor, and engineer, first came up with the idea after hearing about a man who built a cardboard canoe.  Gafni’s wheels started turning and he brought the idea of building a bicycle out of cardboard to three of his friends, all engineers, but none of them thought it was possible.  Their disbelief, however, only fueled Gafni’s creative drive.  With his wife’s encouragement, he set to work in his makeshift shop, experimenting with cardboard and building a number of prototypes before he finally arrived at a functional, sleek, and strong cardboard bicycle.  An adult and children’s model of the bicycle is set to hit mass production in approximately six months.  

The beauty of the cardboard bicycle is that its production costs are so minimal that it can be profitably manufactured nearly anywhere.  Cheap labor would only result in very marginal, if any, real savings, so whether it’s manufactured in America or China will make little difference.  Cardboard can also be an environmentally friendly material, as it is both renewable and recyclable.  Gafni’s bicycle also utilizes tubeless and airless tires, made out of reclaimed rubber, which will require little maintenance (no tubes to be replaced) and also minimize waste.

Personally, I’m a big fan of this invention.  When I envision a better world, I picture people riding their bikes instead of driving cars.  An affordable bicycle will make it possible for more people in developing countries to own bikes, and perhaps the intriguing and affordable design will inspire people in developed countries to ride bikes instead of drive cars to work.  Cycling is both the most energy efficient form of transportation known to man and a healthy way to travel.  A cheap cardboard bike is also less likely to be targeted for theft, a common problem in big cities.  I’m keeping my eye open for this one and plan on getting a cardboard bike for commuting.  Movement is one of the keys to vitality, and this playful invention epitomizes the spirit of Creation-based play!  But if you have a bike already, don’t wait for the cardboard bike to come out, commuting by bike is the best way to get to work or school!

Originally posted 2012-10-24 15:55:00.

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