Better City, Better Trike

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:36
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  • Cycling in China has been an essential mode of transport for the last century - both for goods and people. Despite the rise in popularity in scooters and electric bikes, the common pedal bicycle and rickshaws is still an overwhelming sight around China's cities. I was recently introduced to the Treecycle, a bamboo trike, which has been developed by Shanghai based husband and wife team of Chris and Florian Trees aimed at making pedal travel more efficient, and environmentally friendly. The materials for the major components of the Treecycle were all selected for optimal durability while ensuring minimal ecological impact. The frame is entirely constructed from polished stainless steel for its strength and its maintenance-free aesthetic appearance. The rear seat is made from laminated bamboo panels. As described on the Treecycle website: "The production process from bamboo shoot, to the formed sections used in our tricycle is one that requires minimal energy input for maximum ecological benefit. We use age old methods which rely practically entirely on the bamboo plant. The first step of this process is to transform bamboo sections into the strips used as the basic component of the laminated panels. These are boiled in a water based, preservative solution to ensure maximum longevity and then kiln dried. In both the preservation and drying stages, the source of fuel is waste bamboo obtained from the transformation of the bamboo sections into strips. Bamboo answered all our stringent requirements; it has a tensile strength similar to that of steel, is harder than red oak and, thanks to innovative new lamination techniques was able to conform to the elegant curves we had envisaged. It would, in fact, become the figurehead material used in our design, making a bold statement of our ecological commitments and ethically responsible business practice." The other big innovation in this project is that the transmission is based on an extremely durable and high tensile belt drive which has a much greater lifespan than a classic chain and requires no maintenance whatsoever. You may have spotted the Treecycle riding around Shanghai, the Trees have extensively road tested the prototype for all types of activities. Chris extensively uses the trike, even if going to manufacturers and suppliers on the outskirts of Shanghai. The trike is also ideal for sightseeing, taking kids to school, shopping (it has a small boot in the back), walking the dog or carrying goods (500 kg maximum load possible). The production phase of the Treecycle design has just been launched so if you want more information or to take the Treecycle for spin contact chris.trees@mgt-engineering.com or visit the homepage http://mgt-engineering.com/treecycle/home.html.
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