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Pedal this: DIY bamboo bike joins crowd of eccentric cycles

Bicycle design has taken a turn into wild, wacky and innovative territory as designers create bamboo bikes, cardboard bikes and even bikes that fly.

Bamboobee BIY bike
Make a bike from scratch. Bamboobee

Most cyclists are pedaling around on bicycles made from steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber. You could buck that trend and go way, way outside the norm with a bike made from cardboard or bamboo. The Bamboobee Build It Yourself (BIY) bike kit on Kickstarter is the latest in a line of unusual bikes and bike prototypes that have emerged over the last few years.

If you order a Bamboobee BIY, you'll receive a kit containing bamboo, hemp fiber, a frame jig and various other components needed to construct a frame. You provide the rest of the parts. The BIY is available in three different sizes for an early-bird pledge price of $169 (about £105, AU$197). It has attracted over $45,000 in pledges, handily topping its $15,000 goal with 19 days to run.

On the surface, bamboo might seem like an odd choice of material for a bike, but it's renewable, lightweight, strong and inexpensive. The build process is fascinating, involving laying out the bamboo parts on the included frame jig and tying them together with hemp fiber soaked with epoxy. Not many people have the opportunity to show off a bike and say, "I made this."

The Bamboobee BIY joins a world of bikes that has seen some unusual innovations in recent times. A UK tinkerer modified a BMX to run on wheels made of ice. An Israeli inventor fashioned a prototype bicycle out of $9 worth of cardboard. A flying bicycle went for a successful test flight last year. It just goes to show how much room there is for imagination to run free while still sticking to two wheels.