Izhar Gafni invents a cardboard bicycle that may revolutionize transportation
We are sitting together in what could only be described as a typical inventor's backyard. Pieces of his previous creations are strewn across the grass, while a mismatch of various unsuspecting items make do as garden furniture – the driver's seat from an old, worn-out car; an oversized wooden spool that was most likely used to store wire; and a few wooden crates for the stream of visitors to sit on.
A few feet to the right of Gafni's modest house sits the run-down workshop where he spent numerous hours over the past year and a half trying to turn simple pieces of cardboard into a material strong enough and durable enough to be used for building a multipurpose bicycle.
Just a few yards from the small shed's crooked door stands the much-talked-about invention. There is no doubt that it is an attractive gadget. The large seat is spray-painted an inviting shade of cherry red, while the wheels and frame – a shiny pale blue – sparkle in the sun.
While it is clearly less high-tech than many of the bicycles on the market today, Gafni's design has most of the same practical features. In addition, he says, the bike will soon have an environmentally friendly brake system and a pedaling mechanism that he is currently developing using a variety of recyclable materials.
All will be revealed in the coming months, promises Gafni, who has created a company based on his unique designs called I.G. Cardboard Technologies.
Getting to this point in the development of his cardboard bicycle has been a labor of love.
As an amateur cycling enthusiast, Gafni was inspired to create a bicycle using common cardboard following a visit four years ago to a local cycling store, he says.
"We were all chatting in the store, and somehow started discussing how someone had built a canoe out of cardboard," he recalls. "It was this canoe that was sitting in the back of my head when it suddenly struck me: Why not make a bicycle out of cardboard, too?"
Even though friends and experts warned him that it could not be done, Gafni refused to give up, growing ever more determined to take on what appeared to be an impossible challenge.