Location : London, UK
What made you decide to build a bamboo bike?
There are two reasons. The first one has to do with my master’s research. I was looking at alternative mobility service models and methods of transport that created agency amongst users rather than depleting their embodied experience. The second reason was that my bike got stolen and I was desperate for a new one!
Did you enjoy building the bicycle from scratch and would you recommend the experience?
I don’t think I’ll ever forget this experience. It was instrumental in creating a shift in my life in terms of gaining confidence in myself and realising that there are different ways of learning and knowing. Hands down, it is one of the best things anyone can do to get back into their body. Learn to build your bicycle and work with an incredibly strong and flexible material like bamboo!
Whilst making over 4 days, I realised that there’s a lot that can be done in a day if you get into a state of flow. It was very easy to do this at the workshop even while working around others and this is a credit to James and the kind of environment he has created. It was only by building over the first couple of days that I realised just how immense the possibilities were. This inspired me to want to build more which I later did with James in a research-based capacity.
What did you find most difficult about your bike build?
Installing the components was the most difficult and complex part of the build. There were a lot of parts that needed to be carefully and sensibly installed. It was terrifying initially but having an amazing teacher and being in a group setting really helped.
What was the easiest part of the build?
Selecting the bamboo tubes!
How would you describe the ride of your finished bike?
I rode from the workshop to Hammersmith and I think I had goosebumps all the way home. The bike was incredibly light and I couldn’t believe that I had built it with bamboo!
What would you improve about the build experience or your finished bike?
I would definitely like to take things slow in the future in order to better understand and learn more about the components while installing them. Otherwise, it’s a five-star-and-beyond experience that everyone needs to sign up for!
Build the bike