Engineers told Izhar Gafni that a cardboard bike was impossible. But he went ahead and made one anyway. An ardent cyclist and skilled mechanic, Gafni found a cardboard bicycle taking shape in his mind. American engineers he consulted solemnly nay-sayed, but he couldn’t let go of the idea, he told the Israeli tech blog NewsGeek (in Hebrew).
The burly man’s eyes twinkle under his mop of curly hair as he tells what made him push it forward.
“My wife told me, ‘If you’re not going to try it, you’re going to drive yourself crazy. Then you’re going to drive me crazy, then drive the entire family crazy. So just go ahead and try it!'” Encouraged by domestic support, inspired by origami, and remembering the success of another “impossible” project – the creation of jumbo jets – Gafni took his skills and built a road-worthy bicycle out of corrugated cardboard sheets.
The first prototypes worked, but “they looked like delivery boxes on wheels,” Gafni says. Investors weren’t interested. Gafni realized that the cardboard bike needed a more attractive design. With that in place, plus applications of materials to make it withstand moisture, it became a bike that anyone would want to hop onto.
How does the cardboard bicycle hold up? Well, it takes up to 140 kg. in weight. It’s waterproof. If you watch the 6-minute video below, you will see Gafni cycling carefree through puddles. The video is in English.
And once the bike hits the market, what will be the price to the consumer? An incredibly cheap $60, and up to $90 with extra attachments like a removable motor. Production costs of only $9-12 make this eco-friendly bike available even to teenagers with babysitting money.
According to The Fiscal Times, it’s a commercially viable product with potential appeal to the hospitality industry.
Gafni created the cardboard bike with the urban cyclist in mind. The Israeli press points out that it’s so cheap that it’s not worth stealing: in towns like Tel Aviv, where people cycle everywhere, bicycle theft is a scourge. To us at Green Prophet, being easy on the wallet is certainly a plus. But the biggest advantage of this cardboard bike is how gentle it is to the planet.
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More cool cardboard design on Green Prophet:
- Cardboard Interior Design Upgrades Community Lobby
- Sanserif Creatius Brings Recycled Cardboard Furniture to UAE
- Nokka Customized Cardboard Furniture
Photo of Izhar Gafni’s cardboard bike via The Fiscal Times.