They say necessity is the mother of invention, and while that’s true fairly often, sometimes an invention is born out of sheer curiosity and will.
When Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni heard about a man building a canoe out of cardboard, he felt a vague sort of spark go off in the recesses of his mind. It wasn’t fully formed and emerged as a sort of envy that he couldn’t articulate; it was the feeling of, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Later, as he was running over it in his thoughts, he envisioned making a bike the same way. But it was a daunting task, he knew, and he wasn’t even sure how to go about it.
“While I was eating with my wife one day, she noticed that I am a little bit disturbed and she asked me, ‘What’s bugging you?'” Gafni said. When he told his wife about the canoe and the unformed idea to build a bicycle in a similar way, she encouraged him. According to Gafni, she said, “I know you. If you are not going to try it then you are going to drive yourself crazy… So just go ahead and try it!”
There would be many hours of labor and research put in before Gafni realized he could incorporate the same principles of Japanese origami into folding the layers of cardboard in such a way as to make it sustainable. And while everyone he pitched the idea to told him he was crazy and that it couldn’t be done, he toiled away, creating several prototypes before settling on a form of construction he knew could work.
The bicycle is made from a mere $9 worth of cardboard and can hold the weight of 485 pounds. Gafni says his invention could potentially be a game-changer in the bike world.
“Like Henry Ford who made the car available to anybody, this bike is going to be cheap and available to any child in the world, including children in Africa who walk dozens of miles to school everyday.”