One of my favorite comic strips is “Calvin and Hobbes.” And one of my favorite themes from the strip is Calvin using a cardboard box and turning it into a “Transmogrifier,” a machine that could turn him into an eel, a baboon, a giant bug, or a dinosaur. In an attempt to avoid doing his homework, Calvin also made a time machine out of a cardboard box so that he could travel into the future to a time in which he had finished his homework, retrieve the finished homework, and then return to the present with his finished homework.
A few years ago, an entrepreneur imagined a novel use for cardboard. Izhar Gafni is the founder of Cardboard Technologies. He is also the inventor of the company’s cardboard bicycle.
According to the website, The Switchers, “In addition to cardboard parts made water- and fireproof with the use of sealant, the bike includes some plastic components made from recycled bottles and other waste. The chain is made from upcycled rubber. In total, it will cost less than $20 to produce in an automatic production line; that is an essential part of the company’s technology.”
The cardboard bike went public in 2013 and was an immediate sensation. But amid all the success, the company suddenly went silent and disappeared.
Cardboard Technologies had to take some time to fully develop the cardboard bike and organize as well as protect all of its relevant patents and intellectual property. Now, five years later, the company is ready to start manufacturing and selling bikes. The first are going to be “balance bikes.” They’re a sort of tricycle to help kids get the hang of balancing and riding a bike.
Mass production started a few months ago. The Switchers reports that “The first two years of product—approximately 500,000 bikes annually—has already been snapped up by huge retailers and other North American providers.”
A vast majority of all products shipped in the US are packaged in corrugated cardboard boxes.
What are your thoughts on cardboard bicycles? How much in need are we for this type of creative innovation? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.