Cycling might be the greenest, most efficient means of transportation known to man, but the exotic materials used to make modern bikes are far from green and sustainable, that is until now.
A three man Basque company named Txirbil Kooperativa, which means “wood shaving” in Euskera, the ancient language of the Basque people, is making hand made wooden framed road bikes which are as much serious road going machine as rolling works of art.
Why wood? Besides having an beautiful natural aesthetic, wood is resistant. In fact pound for pound wood is more resistant than aluminum or steel, two very common bike frame materials. Wood can also absorb a high level of vibration and result much lighter than generally perceived.
The core of the frame is made with ash tree wood, a species indigenous to the region that can be found all over Europe. The bike has been favorably tested by members of professional teams as well as in two demanding races in France – the París-Roubaix and the Flandes Tour.
Another surprisingly popular green bike making material is bamboo, where a multitude of companies, including Calfe Design and Boo Bikes are leading the charge. Bamboo, actually a grass, has a tensile strength that is equal to or greater than steel, and when used in a bike frame, is extremely compliant, virtually eliminating all vibrations.
So what about an all wood bicycle? No bolts and screws, just wood and glue. Is it possible? Apparently two Brits. Michael ‘Thomo’ Thompson and James Tully, friends and former neighbours for over 20 years, are not only attempting to build it, but also set the land speed record for an all wood bicycle. I highly doubt we’ll see this one in any future cycling tour.
I think I’ll stick with the more traditional materials, but I have to admit, that all wood bike from Txirbil is stunning!
Ride Time: 2:24:56
Stopped Time: 1:56:36
Distance: 39.01 miles
Average: 16.15 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.07 mph
Ascent: 901 feet
Descent: 762 feet