Tag Archives: wes cheney

Sustainable Living Fair Hampton Roads, 2012

Thanks to all of our friends who came out to the Sustainable Living Fair at Webb Center on a wet weekend.


Firebending Bamboo Demonstration


We stayed warm with a propane torch, firebending bamboo both indoors and out. We sold out of bamboo pan scrapers, and did a decent trade in t shirts, too.

Now, back to work on “Mary Jane”…

And a Bamboo Bicycle under the Christmas Tree

Almost two hundred years ago, Baron Karl von Drais saw the European grain harvest crash as the dust of Krakatoa blocked out the sun. Horses and cattle were starving. Baron von Drais figured there had to be a quicker way to move down the road, and voila, the velocipede was born.

Baron Karl von Drais on the original hobby horse.

It would take a few more decades before pedals and a chain drive would be added, but the basic building blocks of a bicycle were there: two wheels, steering, and brakes.

And now our daughter is learning to balance a bike by herself on an updated, bamboo “draisine.”

Abby and her hobby horse.

Go, Abby, go!

Bamboo Fenders and Bandsaws

After installing a new blade on the bandsaw, I’ve been slicing up a new batch of bamboo fenders. That old Craftsman bandsaw is the best thing since sliced bread! Quick, smooth cuts with almost no splintering.

If you’d like to order a pair of fenders or handlebar grips, check out the VeloBamboo store on Etsy.

I’ve learned that it’s far easier to bend bamboo when it’s green, as opposed to dry, and thinner bamboo bends easier than bamboo of the same diameter, but a thicker wall. This is, by far, my best looking batch fenders.

“It’s the bamboo bike dude!”

Jesse asked me to talk about bamboo bikes, and I issued a manifesto:

Art|Everywhere, Bamboo Pagodas, Earth Day festivities and Oddities

It was a crazy, long weekend.

Friday night I was working until midnight in a dusty, hot, downtown loft, installing the final pieces of a great bike art exhibit. I gotta say, I’m darn proud of our efforts.

Slicing & dicing cardboard

Master of the staple gun & razor blade.

Of course, I was too darn exhausted to think about taking pictures from the street, but I’ll post some as soon as I can.

Saturday morning BC & I were at Riverfest, conducting a “Live Beta Test” of our bamboo star pagoda. Previously we had only built a five foot tall model. The full version, however, was closer to twenty feet tall. We parked bikes under, around and on it, and it was the (literal) star of the show.

Bike Norfolk's Bamboo Star Pagoda at Riverfest

Less than six hours later we disassembled the pagoda, loaded it on top of our Honda Element, and headed home. Then it was off to the Art|Everywhere bike ride, where I flaunted my kilt.

He bikes Norfolk.

Sunday morning it was back to work, this time at the Virginia Beach Earth Day Festival. The irony that we were celebrating Earth Day in a park built atop a garbage dump that was started forty years ago was not lost on me…

Bamboo Cruiser, ready for a test ride.

I took my bamboo cruiser for its first test ride, and was pretty darn pleased with it. Supple & fast. I also had an opportunity to see a trike built with even more eclectic tastes than mine.

Now that's a saddle.

Monday, I rested. And Tuesday I was back to work on Chris’ bike. I’ve applied the fiberglass atop the foam lugs, and today I’ll start lashing the twine.

Fiberglassed. Ready for twine.

Part 2: Bamboo Bike Construction

Q: So how do you build a bamboo bike?

A: Very carefully…

Part 1 of this series is unpublished, but would include the harvesting and curing of bamboo.

I’m writing Part 2 now because that’s what I’ve got video of. I toned down my digital workflow, shooting just Small Fine JPEGs on a Nikon D90, 28mm f/2.8 lens, with an external intervalometer, batch importing, cropping to 1280×720, & exporting JPEGs. Images sequenced to 6 frames per second with QuickTime Pro.

Day 1- Getting Jiggy With It

Following the pattern of  Nick Tempest’s Fuji mountain bike , I laid out the five lugs or “landing pads” (in Bamboo Bike Studio-lingo), spacing them out on the jig, aligning them and trimming as needed. During halftime I twirl a meter stick.


Videographer, Focus Puller, Best Boy, Editor & Executive Producer: Wes Cheney.

Bamboo Bikes at the FairTradeFest

For the first time in a decade, I showed my wares at an art show: the ninth annual Fair Trade Festival, held this year at Waterside in downtown Norfolk.

I met so many enthusiastic inquirers that I ran out of VeloBamboo brochures. My fellow vendors watched with appreciation as I built up a bike, and one lucky fellow got to take a bamboo bike for its first test ride.

I’ve got invitations to join the Chix Beach art show and the Sustainable Living Fair. Look for me with more bikes to sell!