Archive for January, 2013
I think I’m pretty Canadian in that I say “eh”, wear a bit too much flannel, and occasionally ride a moose to work. There is however one distinctly Canadian pastime that’s always eluded me, the mysterious art of Maple tree tapping. Living in a city the idea honestly never crossed my mind… but then one day it did. When I realized that the streets of my neighborhood where lined with Maple trees, and I didn’t have anything else planed for the day, I figured it was a perfect time to check this off my list of “Distinctly Canadian Things to Do”.
Legal disclaimer: I’m not sure what the legal ramifications are for harvesting Maple Sap from city property, but I can assure you that the taste ramifications are tremendous.
With a bike jig in place and your head tube, bottom bracket, seat-post and dropouts secured in place, the next step is to start measuring out the bamboo and cutting it to size. You can get the metal components from a frame-building supplier like Nova Cycles or harvest them off a junk frame. Once cut each joint needs to be mitered down so that it fits perfectly and snugly around the component you will be epoxying it to. My bamboo was pretty hard, so I ate through a few dremel bits during the mitering process.
I have this thing where when I say that I’m going to do something I inevitably have to do it. No matter how ludicrous or implausible, I’ve just gotta jump in headfirst and hope it works out, somehow it usually does. As it happened, one day in April I realized that I didn’t have a bike… and with no knowledge about how to actually build one I announced that was in fact what I was going to do.
Let’s face it, building a bike out of what is essentially panda-bear food sounds ridiculous. The first question that comes to most peoples minds is “why the heck would you do that?” Bamboo has hundreds of industrial and commercial uses, it’s fascinating stuff, and when it comes to bikes bamboo is actually an excellent frame building material. It’s lighter and stronger than steel/aluminum with better vibration absorbing properties than carbon fiber. I also think that it looks pretty cool. After spending a few weeks researching bamboo tensile strengths, epoxy curing agents, carbon fiber thermal expansion coefficients and a brief refresher on the Pythagorean theory from my tenth grade math textbook I figured I was as ready as I’d ever be to build a two wheeled death trap fit for Gilligan himself.