Building bamboo bikes

The building of bamboo bikes, with parts that have been foraged from around Gippsland, fits nicely with (f)route‘s (f)oraging theme during February.

Sam Mitchell, a 20 year old from Orbost who cleverly uses parts rejected by others, has built bikes of different kinds, among other things. He is leading five other people in creating the bamboo bikes you see in these pictures, during a four-day workshop in Bairnsdale.

Sam spent most of 2013 riding around Australia on a homemade bike, powered by solar panels.

Responding to a call from (f)route for people to sponsor a young workshop participant, I put my hand up for Voyage Media to pay Harry Barton’s fee.

24 year old Harry from Bairnsdale likes bike riding, surfing, hiking and outdoors in general. He studied Environmental Science at Monash Uni for 3.5 years before doing his final semester in Copenhagen as part of a Monash exchange program.

Harry received a Crown Princess Mary Scholarship to Copenhagen University, where he completed climate change-related courses and a Danish culture course.

The bikes are quite sturdy!

Harry told us he’s thrilled to meet and work with Sam on building bamboo bikes, and considers Sam’s nine month solar bike ride “pretty awesome.”

“I was actually thinking of something like that myself earlier this year.

“I love bike riding and I was trying to think of a way to combine bike touring, on long trips, with some sort of environmental message as well.”

The bike maker we sponsored: Harry Barton of Bairnsdale

Harry and Sam share a passion for seeing Australia embrace renewable energy in the way other countries have. They also share a passion for bikes!

Harry believes our National party political representatives in Central and East Gippsland are not working for our rural sector as effectively as they should.

“The region has a strong agriculture background and locals are quite aware of climatic changes, especially farmers. They’re the ones most at risk, in a way.”

Harry gets some help from Sam Mitchell

Harry believes our federal and state politicians should impress upon their party rooms, the importance of acting on climate change in a meaningful way, to lessen the financial impact on the rural sector in the future.

“Any action would be good action. We don’t have a real lot in Australia at the moment.

“In Denmark they see a problem like climate change and realise they have to act, and the sooner the better, and they just get on and do it. Whereas here, we argue and debate about it, spend years talking about it… and the problem grows.”

As for the bamboo bike he’s building Harry said, “I’m excited about the idea of making bikes so if it turns out well, I wouldn’t mind trying to make another bike… whether it’s bamboo or steel…”

(f)route’s (f)ebruary of (f)oraging continues with more events, culminating in Saturday’s annual (f)routeville at Nicholson.

Sam built this bamboo bike in 2012