The last time you purchased something made entirely from cardboard, chances are it was a box to pack up your belongings. While the sturdy material is perfect for moving your stuff, an inventor from Israel has figured out a way to make cardboard move you. Using nine dollars worth of materials, bicycle enthusiast Izhar Gafni has created a fully functioning, water-resistant bicycle, made, from seat to spokes, entirely of recycled cardboard. The technology makes the environmentalist’s choice mode of transportation even a bit greener and easier on the wallet.
The all cardboard bike is shockingly durable: it can carry riders who weigh up to 485 pounds. A layer of coating atop the cardboard shields the bike from the elements and gives the finished product the look and feel of lightweight plastic. While the cost to make the bicycle ranges from nine to twelve dollars, the manufacturer expects to sell the vehicle for sixty to ninety dollars depending on the optional addition of an electric motor.
“It’s going to be a game-changer in the bike world,” says Giora Kariv, an Israeli artist and a longtime friend of Gafni’s who made a documentary about the project. “Like Henry Ford who made the car available to anybody, this bike is going to be cheap and available to any child in the world, including children in Africa who walk dozens of miles to school everyday.”
According to Kariv’s documentary, Gafni’s cardboard bicycle was inspired by news that an inventor had succesfully built a cardboard canoe. Gafni’s bike design was initially deemed “impossible” by three engineers, but over the course of three years, Gafni proved triumphant. He has since made four different prototypes and even created a training bike for youth using origami techniques to mold and strengthen the material.
Gafni’s next steps involve establishing a company to produce and distribute his cardboard creation to the world market. He’s currently working with investors to have the product ready for mass-production and worldwide distribution by next year.