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Cardboard Bicycle

At the moment, it's just a design student's prototype, but I think this ridable cardboard bike has real legs, er, wheels.

Built from a single sheet of industrial-strength hexacomb card, the frame should cost as little as 3GBP ($6), and the tiny proportion of metal parts means the bike has a projected selling price of 15GBP (about $30). For that, you get a bike that will survive about 6 months of daily commuting, or a lifetime of the kind of riding most people do.

The designer, 21 year-old Phil Bridge, predicts the design will cut bike crime by simply being too cheap to be worth pinching (currently, a bike is stolen and abandoned every 71 seconds in the UK). It also provides an opportunity for sponsorship:

"The idea was that it would be a sponsorship from a company who would produce these and get some advertising it. And once you've used it, you'd return it they'd give you another one, they'd take all the metal components out and put them into a new frame and the old frame would go back to the manufacturer."

BBC Manchester article
BBC South Yorkshire article

Picture of Cardboard Bicycle
cardboard_bike_470_470x200.jpg
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forgesmith8 years ago
Try the CNN article. The cardboard itself is treated with a waterproofing agent, rain shouldn't be a problem but don't leave it in a lake. The theoretical weight limit is about 12 stone, 168 pounds.

And, it's a showpiece. No real plans for further development, he's looking for a job then might work on it in his spare time. Still hasn't made a fully working prototype. It's not made for speed, and lacking that durability I doubt it'll take tiny potholes and curbs well. An interesting project well on its way to becoming something that he keeps in the shed out back.

Of course, part of that is thinking it's a "sponsorship" thing. Replace the cardboard parts free of charge? On what planet does that make financial sense? Clearly, this should be a DIY kit, lots of people would love to build their own bike, without much thought of how practical it is. Buy it at Wal-Mart, kids and parents will have fun. I can even see a charitable aspect, bikes for third-world countries, people will donate, shipping costs of the kits will be low, and as a very important matter (you better believe it) the blackmarket value will be so low it won't be worth hijacking the shipments, they'll actually get to people.

That should work.
Kiteman (author)  forgesmith8 years ago
With the sponsorship, I assume he means companies pay to have stuff printed on your bicycle. I like the kit idea (sypher mentioned Ikea), and if it's manufactured with a white surface, every bike would be utterly unique after 5 minutes with marker pens or a spray-can.
Pay $30 to be someone's advertising space? Get advertisers when the message will only change every six months with no guarantee the owners won't just cover it right up?

Clearly this will not work. They'll have to charge $130+ and have an exclusive deal to stick a Nike "swoosh" on it. Then people will buy them.
no guarantee the owners won't cover the averts up, but a guarantee that a certain percentage of people won't bother, and after the first six months, that percentage would be known.
Kiteman (author)  forgesmith8 years ago
I know!

Some places have bike-borrowing schemes (I think Cambridge (UK) does?) to provide cheap transport for students and cut congestion. They tend to suffer from a certain amount of theft. Using these things would solve that, and local companies would pay to have their adverts on bikes that were constantly in the public view.

It would also be a cheap way of starting up a bike-hire scheme in a tourist area.

(I wonder how easy it is to disassemble? You could fit a hundred flat-packed bikes in a van and rent them out / sell them at a festival or carnival event. Base yourself at a car-park just outside the London or Manchester congestion-charge zones and rent or sell them to commuters who don't want to pay that extra $10 to drive the last mile or two of their journey)
But could you (re)assemble them as fast as you were selling them?

It would be interesting to get ahold of one, then use the cardboard as a template. That would look cool redone in Plexiglas. And you could mount LED assemblies on the edges and have the bike frame or even the whole bike glowing in different colors...

Ooh, ahh... so pretty....
I support the idea of selling kits. There are paper clock kits and all kinds of balsa kits. Even if people won't ride them, they'll build them, paint them, and use them as lawn decorations. So, this definitely has market potential one way or the other.
Gjdj38 years ago
That's preety cool. I'm sure you'd get a lot of odd looks riding that thing.
jongscx8 years ago
So this is yet another itteration of the hobo-cycle?
My thought was to do the same thing using Coroflute or some similar corrugated plastic. Recycling old political signs maybe? :)
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