As many of you eagle-eyed Tender readers (or simply the ones who often walk down Post between Larkin and Hyde) have already noticed, the Tenderhood has recently welcomed a new bikeshop. And by shop I mean workshop, since they don’t actually sell bikes. Instead, they sell two-day workshops to build your own bicycle. And no, this isn’t just any bicycle, but one made of bamboo. Apparently it’s a new trend in bike design, as it has lots of advantages such as a tensile strength greater than steel while also being very light, and also it’s a plant that grows quickly and abundantly all over the world making it widely available and renewable.
The Bamboo Bike Studio, as this new shop it’s called, soft-opened its San Francisco location on November 1st and has had bike-making workshops nearly every weekend since then. This is their second location after starting up in Brooklyn, NYC, two years ago. There are three guys behind the Bamboo Bike Studios, Marty Odlin and Sean Murray (pictured below), who developed the system to make the bamboo bikes, and David Mann. They are also part of The Bamboo Bike Project by Columbia University’s Earth Institute’s to build bamboo bikes in developing countries, particularly in Africa.
Basically, the idea is that the Bamboo Bike Studio teach people to build bike frames out of bamboo, and then use the engineering, teaching, and financial capital to establish bamboo bike factories in several countries, starting with Ghana and Kenya. As stated in their website, their mission is to provide every cyclist the experience of building his or her dream bike from scratch, while advancing sustainable development by financing bamboo bike factories in Africa and South America.
Unfortunately, getting one of these cool, light-weight bikes for yourself isn’t exactly cheap. The intensive weekend workshops start at $632 for just the frame (you can add your own components at home or from your local shop). They supply all tools and materials (including the bamboo, obviously), and as much help as you need. Additionally, with the Full Bike option of $948 they help you select and install all the components you need to ride away on a bike that you made.
At the end of a weekend at the studio, you’ll have a custom bicycle made by your own two hands that will become your favorite object in the world because, as stated in their motto, ‘the best bike is the one you build yourself’. Obviously, it will also be your favorite mode of transportation. Also, half of the profits from the workshops go towards the goal of getting a cheap version of these bikes built in Africa, as well as allowing them to fine-tune their bike design and bamboo treatment methods to make it the most efficient to mass-produce (for a fraction of the cost you pay for your custom model).
As if all of this wasn’t cool enough, we also learned that they’ve already submitted a request for a parklet which, if the one by farm:table gets approved (fingers crossed), would be the second on Post street.
Now enjoy some photos of the workshop they had last weekend, which I took when the students were about half-way through the bike-making. And don’t forget to check out their grand opening party tomorrow (Friday) at 9:30 am!