Author Topic: Youth tour on bamboo bikes  (Read 5556 times)

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Offline tmurdock

Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« on: May 18, 2010, 06:18:39 pm »
Next month I am taking a group of students from DC to Pittsburgh.  We want to tour on bamboo bikes that we make ourselves over the next 5 weeks.  We are in need of about 5 late model damaged frames from which we will cut the dropouts, bottom bracket and head tubes.  Why late model?  B/c I want the kids to have descent bikes to keep when they are done with our 9 day tour.  Touring frames or mtn bike frames with disc brake ready rear drop outs would be awesome! 

Our group of 12 is about 75% low income and first generation college bound.  They are good students and first time cyclists.  If you have any suggestions please let me know... thanks,

Offline valygrl

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 07:03:20 pm »
This isn't the suggestion you are looking for but here goes:

That's a horrible idea, don't do it.  Home made bikes, juveniles, no experience riding let alone building bikes, 5 week timeframe, haven't started yet.  You're going to have a big enough challenge getting ready without building bikes.   One little construction mistake, a bike breaks, a kid under the wheels of a passing car.  Ugh.

Have you built *one* bamboo bike yet, and ridden it hundreds of miles, carrying whatever amount of gear you are planning for this trip?  If the answer is yes, I might slightly temper my above comment.  Slightly.

Offline tmurdock

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 07:13:36 pm »
Thanks, point well taken.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 08:27:03 pm »
I  am going to have to throw my lot in with ValleyGirl.  Even if this was a welding class, and you wanted to build frames from scratch, I would agree with her.  Touring bikes are hard enough to get right when you have $1200 to spend.  I can't imagine what it takes to build one from exotic materials like bamboo. 

I appreciate what you are trying to do.  It sounds like you want to do the C&O Tow Path and the GAP.

How about if you turn this into a supported ride.  Get a volunteer with a van to carry the gear.  Let the kids ride whatever crappy bikes they can get.  Beg, borrow, otherwise appropriate bikes for which kids can't get one.  You will have your hands full just getting sleeping bags, tents, and mats.  Plus you need some kind of camp kitchen set up.

I think you will have your hands full doing just that.  The kids will still have a great time and learn something about themselves.

Offline DaveB

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 01:26:20 pm »
I fully agree that building bikes by and for neophyte young riders is a recipe for disaster, or several disasters.  This is further compounded by the concept of bamboo bikes which require some specialized technology to build anyway.  Noble idea but wholly impractical.

If you are in Pittsburgh, there is an organization in the East End called "Freeride".  They have bike maintainance classes and teach people how to build up a bike for themselves and keep the bike afterwards.  If you can get your kids into something like this they will not only have bikes but know how to keep them going. 

Offline Jason

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2010, 12:45:38 pm »
Here's my totally one-sided opinion about something you're planning (the power of the internet..)

Go for it.  Making a bike then making yourself actually get on it and ride, holy, that sounds like the essence of bike-touring.  The worst that could happen is much the same as the worst that could happen with a bike that has the words Long, Haul, and Trucker on it.  A friend in Atlanta made a bamboo bike in one of the week long course.  Wow, so nice - and simple (single speed, which on its own makes me wish I had one...), and again, something that he made.  I would absolutely, without question ride it anywhere and everywhere.  If I had to do over again, I would have considered this before doing the Southern Tier.

Everyone knows this, but i guess few truly practice it - they are no rules to bike touring...  Certain things make it easier - like 29 gears versus one, the type of bike, etc - but you still have to ride the bike.  What better way to feel 100% connected to the entire experience than manufacturing the bike from scratch.

You won't know unless you try...

I commend your efforts, and hope that you've made the decision already to have a go at this.  
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 06:27:57 pm by movershaker »
singlespeed touring - life generally requires just one speed.
Southern Tier, TransAm, tons of places in between.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 01:54:15 pm »
I have heard good things about this. Why don't you contact the in Brooklyn, N.Y, they may be able to help. The Bamboo Bike Project, another group that believes in Bamboo Bikes, has a very cool Bike Jersey. I may purchase the Jersey.  ;DLOL

Offline tmurdock

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2010, 07:45:52 am »
Thanks for the good words.  I've been in contact with the guys at Bamboo Bike Studio off and on since Feb.  They have been very helpful but, we are 600 miles apart.  I'm currently looking for some help from some previous frame builders who live close enough to visit...  Late model frames with disc brake mount drop outs would make the frame construction easier.  I've not given up yet : )

Offline bogiesan

Re: Youth tour on bamboo bikes
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2010, 11:22:27 pm »
I wish you success and applaud the effort.
Disk brakes are a needless complication, though.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent