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Chocolate teapot. Ashtray on a motorbike. Cardboard bicycle? Sounds like it should complete the phrase 'about as useful as a.....' But no! There really IS such a thing as a cardboard bicycle. Inventor Phil Bridge explains all:
Re-cycle: Phil and his cardboard bike
Student Phil Bridge from Stockport is about to complete a three-year degree course in Product Design at Sheffield Hallam University.
Bike: will it go soggy in the rain?
And the summit of his academic achievements being exhibited at the University’s end of year show, Creative Spark, is – a cardboard bike.
A keen cyclist and member of Stockport bike club Wills Wheels, Phil, who's 21, was pondering the fact that a bicycle is stolen every 71 seconds in the UK, when he came up with a cunning anti-theft plan...
If you make a bicycle from cardboard, no-one will want to steal it! Find out more:
Phil Bridge: interview
Why make a recyclable bike?
"I was looking at bicycles and how people use them and one of the main problems to me seemed that they were too valuable. People don't want to invest in a bike which cost a lot of money and then leave it on the street where it could be damaged or stolen. So my main goal was to completely devalue the bike into something that everyone had that could be thrown away, left anywhere and you wouldn’t have any worries about it."
So is it ordinary cardboard?
"Originally I played with corrugated cardboard but it wasn’t strong enough. So then I looked into more structural cardboards that are used for engineering purposes and ended up with Hexacomb board which has a honeycomb structure."
Won't it go soggy in the rain?
"No it’s inherently waterproof at the point of manufacture and it's been used in outdoors. In some instances it’s been used in housing and for advertising hoardings."
So how much would it cost?
"You can get a whole bike out of one sheet [of Hexacomb] including the frame and the wheels. And you can get a sheet for £3 each if you buy in bulk. I’ve priced it to about £15 for the entire bike plus additional components eg tyres, chain etc"
Does it go fast?
"Not particularly, no. It was never designed to be a performance bike. It was designed for everyday use, so people riding it slowly to get from place to place - not the Tour de France!"
How long would one last?
"It depends on how much you use it. If you use it the way most people in England use bikes, it’ll probably last forever because it’ll be sat in your shed! Seriously, it's designed to last for about six months of constant use."
And how do you see a cardboard bike being used?
"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."
Interview from BBC Radio Sheffield
last updated: 16/06/2008 at 11:55