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Coast to Coast on a Bamboo Recumbent
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Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Coast to Coast on a Bamboo Recumbent on 02/25/2012 22:49:54 MST Print View

Hey all!

This summer I'm going to be heading out from California and heading, eventually, to New York.

The bike I'll be using is a recumbent medium constructed of bamboo, and at this point I haven't begun piecing together the other parts to the bike: wheels, brakes, derailler, tires...I'm hoping to do it on a budget, since this last year I did most of the PCT and it broke my wallet (but fed my soul!:). If anyone knows of any cost saving techniques clue me in! :)

Learned a lot from BPL for my PCT hike and that's transferring over to this ride. Even met several BPL'ers on the PCT last year! Was too cool!

Anyway, looking forward to putting in updates here as I get prepped...


Casey Balza
(equals) - F
Bamboo bike on 02/26/2012 12:11:53 MST Print View

I'm interested in your bike frame made out of bamboo. Did you design it yourself or find free plans online? I work at a bamboo nursery so making a bike out of bamboo would be sweet.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
Re: Coast to Coast on a Bamboo Recumbent on 02/26/2012 12:14:54 MST Print View

I don't want to be a jerk or anything, but part of life-cycle analysis is the length of the useful life. There are lots of 100 year old steel bikes that still ride. That is all ;-)

Antique Highwheel Penny Farthing Bicycle Riding

That's one's actually about 120 years old now.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
:) on 03/10/2012 00:26:35 MST Print View

Not to be a jerk, either, John...

But part of the "life-desirable" equation is whether or not, in 100 years, anyone wants my old crusty metal bike frame, much less my ability to ride it! :)

I'm not saying ones better than the other (reading my intro here, that was plain), but loads have traversed the country on metal bikes. No ones ever done it on a bamboo recumbent!

As far as ride goes, though, bamboo bikes are superior to any metals. The vibration dampening qualities aren't even debatable. So, I'm stoked!

And we might have 100 year old bamboo bikes...if they hadn't stopped making them. This bike will probably outlast my riding days, if not wrecked.

Edited by Pittsburgh on 03/10/2012 00:28:14 MST.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
Re: :) on 03/10/2012 07:26:55 MST Print View

Apparently the first bamboo bike on record was built in 1894. This one, via wikipedia, seems to be steel lugged with screw-clamp connections. I gather that we now up-tech the bamboo with a bit of carbon fiber and composite technology. Putting basic diamond frames at like $600?


Edited by JohnJ on 03/10/2012 07:27:35 MST.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: :) on 03/14/2012 18:04:02 MDT Print View

Dug, can you give us more info on the Bamboo frame? Depending on what it is and what you need, I might have a couple of old/new bits lying around that might work with it. Just need to post them from Aus-some bits you are probably better off just finding locally (Jenson USA is a good cheap online supplier in your neck of the woods). For example, most old rear derailleurs will work with anything up to 8 speed fairly well, just find some bar-end lever type shifters and run on friction (I found this worked well on my recumbent trike). 8 speed chains, cassettes and cranks are durable and cheap, will last the whole way across the country without replacement.

Wheel size(s), etc, would be good to know. This is a recumbent bike, right, not a trike?

There are plenty of ways to tour on the cheap. Stealth camping and cooking for yourself makes it easy-should be able to get by on a few dollars a day if you regularly pass supermarkets and drink water.

Don't bother buying expensive racks or panniers yet if you are going with an ultralight kit. There are plenty of ways to attach your gear to the frame on a recumbent. Post some pics of your rig and I can make suggestions based on my experience.

Hope you are going to keep an online journal for us :-)

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Great stuff! on 03/17/2012 02:15:56 MDT Print View

Hey Casey, check your PM!

And thanks for the ideas, Adam. I'm going to be doing a lot of camping along the way, as my budget will be low. I'm still recovering from my PCT hike (financially, and withdrawals from the trail...), so cost is a factor. That's why I am so open to any bike parts anyone would be willing to lend/give.

I'll be running 20" wheels according to the mastermind builder, and he mentioned 700c as well. I'm still learning, so there's much curving going on for me. :)

I'm going very very light. I will be using a tarp from Yama Adventure Gear (Gen is on BPL, and he is currently getting ready for his own ride against human trafficking, unicycling the Great Divide Route). Also, my Jacks'R'Better quilt...I'll be posting a gear list shortly, as it begins to take better definition. But one thing I will be taking is my JetBoil, and carrying a couple meals + snacks between towns. Compared to the PCT, finding food will be 1,000,000 times easier. :)

Adam, PM me with a list of items...I'll see if it;s financially feasible to send any across the ocean. And by the way, really envious, I have wanted to go to Australia my whole life!