They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but bikes do.
Bamboo bikes are the newest product being sold in Greater Victoria, specifically at Green Man Bikes in Langford.
“We’re looking to do start a new trend on the Island,” says Eric Bushell, the bike shop owner. “My brother [who co-owns the shop] was very skeptic about it, but I really wanted one, so here we are.”
Green Man Bikes is the first shop on the Island to offer bamboo bikes, which comes directly from Boomers, a company in Ghana.
Boomers produces bamboo bicycle frames for mountain bikes, city bikes, road bikes, and electric bikes. They source their bamboo from sustainable forests in Ghana and provide employment in many rural communities.
A Boomers bamboo bike has “a zero carbon footprint, is lighter than steel … and isn’t fragile like carbon fibre,” according to the Boomers website.
The bamboo frame has been tested in Germany, Taiwan, and Australia to receive quality certifications and is placed through a rigorous process for crash resistance. Then, it’s coated with a varnish.
Bamboo bikes at Green Man are made custom so each order is shipped directly from Ghana.
Bamboo frames start at $630 through the Langford bike shop. In comparison, Bushell says steel frames can set shoppers back $800 and titanium can go as high as $2,000. Customers can choose to customize as they please, adding bamboo wheels and handlebars too.
Bushell says it takes two to three weeks on average between placing an order and riding in Greater Victoria’s bike lanes. Green Man took their first order for a bamboo bike this summer.
“It’s crazy to think that they grew my bicycle in Africa,” says Todd Litman, an avid cyclist who hasn’t owned a car in the past decade. “Bamboo bikes are structured in a way that absorbs the shocks in the road. Just like someone having multiple shoes for different occasions, I have several bikes for different uses.”
Litman says he paid $2200 for his custom build and it’s a price he’s comfortable paying for a ‘good quality bike’.
“I think local bike shops are being cautious, just like a customer who doesn’t want to be the first one to try something new,” says Bushell. “But someone’s gotta be the first one. And it’s us.”
Fall Bike to Work Weeks runs Oct. 21 until Nov. 3 across B.C.