The website No Camels
says Izhar Gafni was told it couldn't be done, “They said it was impossible,” but he was determined to prove his fellow engineers wrong.
He tells the Hebrew website Newsgeek
, “I really love bicycles, and when I worked in the United States I inquired in California to see if anyone has already thought of the concept of a cardboard bicycle. To my delight, I only discovered similar concepts based on bamboo. But when I started asking engineers about the possibility of producing a cardboard bicycle, I was sent away and told that the realization of my idea is impossible. One day I was watching a documentary about the production of the first jumbo jet – and an engineer on the team had said that when everyone tells him that what he is doing is impossible – it makes it even clearer to him that he is progressing in the right direction. That saying motivated me to experiment with different materials on cardboard, to find what produces the desired strength and durability.”
Gafni's goal was to make a bike out of recycled cardboard that would be strong enough to carry a person weighing 140 kilograms (300 pounds). His first prototypes were durable but too bulky, so he persevered. “My first prototypes looked like delivery boxes on wheels. They were hefty and it didn’t take much imagination to see that they were made of cardboard. When I met with investors it was difficult to explain my ultimate vision with the bikes, which led me to understand that I need to devote more time towards developing a more comfortable design, lighter and more impressive.”
The Huffington Post
reports Gafni eventually discovered that by using the techniques of Japanese origami, he could triple the cardboard's weight-bearing capabilities.
His final product is now able to carry 220 kilos (485 pounds) and is coated with a strong layer of brown and white material that makes it look like it is made of hard lightweight plastic.
Filmmaker Giora Kariv created a short documentary about the project and he tells the Huffington Post, "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."
Cost of construction is about $9 and it will likely sell for $60 to $90 and he's already working with investors to begin worldwide distribution of the cardboard bicycle late next year. No Camels
reports he is planning 3 different bikes; one for adults, a children's model and a not-so-green motorized version.