With an ever-expanding trade network in a globalized world, shipping has become an important part of world commerce. Shipping technologies have become more and more advanced, especially in the field of cardboard. Corrugation technology along with stronger adhesives has made this material more resilient and easier to work with. But as cardboard becomes cheaper and more available around the world people are finding new and interesting ways of interacting with this material.
The project began when an individual named Izhar Gafni heard of an individual that had constructed a canoe made entirely from used cardboard. An avid bike enthusiast, Gafni decide to start experimenting with the same material to create a real bicycle. He began to cut and fold used cardboard in ways that made it stiffer and stronger. He says that even paper can be very strong if folded correctly like origami. Three years and several patents later, the $9 bike was born. His innovative bicycle design has gained notice of many people around the world for its resilience, weight, cost, and availability. The bike is 100% recycled with a frame that is stronger than carbon fiber. It weighs just 20 pounds but can support a rider safely up to 485 pounds! The bike, known as the Alfa, is a single-speed belt drive system and is virtually maintenance free. The design can be manufactured for between $9 and $12 and there is even an available kids option for a mere $5. Gafni is currently working with investors to get his invention off the ground.
The implications this type of design thinking and material use has are astounding. Developing nations around the world can now count on a safe, cheap, and sustainable way of getting around that was not available before. People can be free from public transit and from the use of cars. Bikes in general can be up to 99% efficient while giving the rider endless recreational pleasure and exercise.