It’s spread around the internet like wildfire via Mashable and the usual cycling forums, but the rumor of the cheap cardboard bicycle is true. With a target MSRP of $20usd it could be a serious global game changer in such diverse environments as global inner cities as well as rural African communities. The production line is said to be three different bicycle designs and a wheelchair – another traditionally expensive mobility tool with life changing implications.

From a bike geek’s perspective, the story¬† of the bike’s creator is a charming peek into the process and possibilities of making things. It’s a well spent six minutes.

Particularly interesting are their ideas on changing manufacturing from low-cost countries where human exploitation is always an issue to local manufacturing that could be subsidized by governments to employ local populations, for profit retailers could afford to sell the bikes for as low as $20 and that the total cost of the finished products would be cheap enough for governments, NGO’s and other organizations to distribute them to communities in need for free. Their profit model is based on computer software: give it away for free and make money on advertising.

It’s an wonderful idea, that’s 6 months away from being launched in Israel and a year away from launching internationally. As someone who works for a bike shop, I’m particularly curious to see the three models they’ve developed that they claim do not need to be adjusted or sized in order to be useful. That and how the bottom bracket and hubs work!

I’d love it if next Christmas I could literally give all of my friends & family (there is at least a dozen) who do not yet own bikes a cardboard starter bike. And some stickers for street cred.

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