When considering the future of urban transportation, hardly anyone would suggest that cardboard will be a key material resource for urban mass transit. However, the inventor and CTO of Cardboard Technologies, Izhar Gafni, is working to make this a reality. Gafni’s cardboard bikes have evolved over the past several years into an inexpensive, sleek, and well-designed frame with a low environmental impact.
With the rising costs of oil and a demand in metropolitan areas for more sustainable means of transportation, the cardboard bike is a continuation of innovative ideas to initiate a paradigm shift towards a more environmentally friendly future. Although bike sharing platforms launched by cities around the world such as Bay Area Bike Share of San Francisco, BikeMi of Milan and Tel-O-Fun of Tel Aviv have been popular among city planners with varying success, Gafni hopes his inexpensive cardboard bikes will be a greater incentive to inspire more people to ride bikes.
Despite the low cost of production (around US $9), these cardboard bikes carry a slightly higher price tag because a percentage of the proceeds are used to lower the retail price of the bikes in developing countries, according to Nimrod Elmish, the CTO of Cardboard Technologies. As of August 2014, these bikes, which have been receiving plenty of media attention for nearly two years, have yet to be made available commercially. In light of an abundance of sites catering to open-source and open-sharing discourse and action, there have been calls for posting the cardboard bike designs on public forums for those who want to improve these designs, or simply for those interested in building their own versions.
Since the demand for innovative new designs and processes for making transportation sustainable and cheaper for lower income individuals is growing exponentially, Cardboard Technologies should be in a good position to successfully market their bikes to consumers. However, the potential for these bikes has yet to be realized, raising two important questions. How will these bikes fit into the transportation revolution taking place in metropolitan centers around the world and what will it take to get these bikes in the hands of people looking for alternative modes of transportation?
Click here to find out more about cardboard bikes and the company Cardboard Technologies.
Image top-left courtesy of the Green Prophet
Image middle-right courtesy of Triple Pundit