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Video: DIY bamboo bikes help two wheels make a comeback in China

Visiting China? A weekend's work gets your own custom bamboo frame

Chinese capital Beijing was once synonymous with cycling, its people getting around on swarms of the classic Chinese Flying Pigeon bike. But increased affluence has seen wealthy Chinese increasingly turn to cars for transport, causing pollution and congestion problems.

Now David Wang, founder of Bamboo Bicycles Beijing is trying to turn around the fortunes of the bike by allowing people to build their own from bamboo.

Wang told Adam Justice of the International Business Timesthat he was inspired to found the workshop after finding piles of old, rusted bicycles in Beijing no longer in use.

He said that besides offering a chance to build a unique-looking bicycle to reinvigorate the idea of cycling in the city, he is hoping to establish a community for Beijing commuters.

"I think the biggest thing is that we want to change the attitude towards different kinds of mobility. One of things when we were doing research before was talking about how the private car is very valuable socially, it gives a certain kind of social status.

"By creating a community that values other forms of mobility, that actually makes it a lot easier to say OK, I want to ride my bike to work, I want to ride my bike to school because it's an expression of myself, it represents who I am as a person, and I think that's very important," he said.

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It takes two days to make your own frame at Bamboo Bicycles Beijing and costs RMB2000, a little over £200. Frame-building sessiona are run in Engliash and Chinese.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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bamboo | 8 years ago

There is no need to go all the way to Beijing to build a bamboo bike - you can build them at home or over a weekend in London with these guys:

It's great fun to build a frame - and probably the cheapest way to get a fully custom build one.

Chris | 8 years ago

Bamboo FTW!

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