Turning Bamboo Into a Bicycle

A cycling entrepreneur has turned to the durable plant as a low-tech and affordable option for building bikes

Legendary bicycle builder Craig Calfee working on a handmade bamboo bicycle. (Jeff Greenwald)

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“A lot of people think bamboo bikes are easy to make, so there’s quite a few people making them,” Calfee says. “But bikes in general are difficult to build. When you design a structure that can hold a 200 lb. person rolling down a mountain at 40 miles per hour, there’s a lot of risk involved.

“Bamboo bikes are at the early stage of market acceptance, and there have been no disasters yet. But poorly-made bikes will lead to accidents, and the reputation of all bamboo bikes will suffer. I went through that with carbon fiber,” Calfee says, shaking his head. “I don’t want to go through it again.”


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