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New Bicycle 'Grown' By British Engineers (VIDEO)

First Posted: 08/06/11 07:02 PM ET Updated: 10/06/11 06:12 AM ET

Forget going to the store to buy a bicycle. The latest trend with engineers at a British university is creating bikes that are “grown.”

In the video below, the BBC reports that engineers have built bikes with bamboo frames that are held together with natural plant fibers. The bamboo bikes weigh the same as traditional metal framed ones, but the raw materials cost less.

According to Dr. James Broughton, a design engineer at Oxford Brookes University, some bamboo species grow up to a meter per day and take only “a year to get to full height and approximately three years to mature.” He jokes that it takes just over four years to “grow a bike.”

But these bamboo bikes are no joke. They were built in the engineering labs of Oxford Brookes using computer-aided design and stress testing to ensure their safety. Another engineer at Oxford Brookes, Dr. Shpend Gerguri, claims one of their bamboo bikes did “absolutely excellent” in this year's 670 kilometer TransAlp mountain bike race.

These featured bikes aren't the only ones in existence. A design student from Australia has created a bamboo bike with a much more radical design, and several U.S. companies already offer bicycles with bamboo frames.

The Huffington Post has also reported on bamboo bikes in the Philippines, and other interesting uses for bamboo, including schools, a dome and USB drives.

Editor's Note: The video reports that the bike received Kitemark certification, while Dr. Shpend Gerguri writes to The Huffington Post, "The bike has passed the relevant European (BS EN 14766) moutainbike safety standard."

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Filed by James Gerken  |