Wednesday 20 November 2019

Recyclable cardboard bicycle is the wheel deal

Ori Lewis and Lianne Gross

A bicycle made almost entirely from cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits around the world, its Israeli inventor has said.

Izhar Gafni (50) is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines and is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.

He explained during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.

Once the bike's shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a secret concoction made of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof qualities.

In the final stage, it is coated with lacquer paint for appearance.

In testing the durability of the treated cardboard, Mr Gafni said he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months and it retained all its hardened characteristics.

Once ready for production, the bicycle will include no metal parts, even the brake mechanism and the wheel and pedal bearings will be made of recycled substances, although Mr Gafni said he could not yet reveal those details due to pending patent issues.

"I'm repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts in it at all," Mr Gafni said.

Mr Gafni's workshop, a ramshackle garden shed, is typically the sort of place where legendary inventions are born. It is crammed with tools and bicycle parts and cardboard is strewn everywhere.

One of his first models was a push bike he made as a toy for his young daughter which she is still using months later.

Irish Independent

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