From an idea to a project

A good idea needs to ripen. My bamboo bike waited for nearly two years before I went from phase 'thinking about it' to 'I'm doing it'.

That's how it meant to be, so the idea patiently waited. Until one beautiful fall morning…

A better model
The sun was harsh on that day. Yellow and red leaves were falling down to my feet in bunches. When the weather's like that, it would be a sin to go by car. I take a bike! After a short while my red Dutch rocket was in the street. But as soon as I jumped on it, the good mood was gone. Everything on the bike seemed to fail: loose pedals, the kickstand flipping down for no reason, the brakes only working theoretically… And what pissed me off the most were two flat tires. Although that was the only problem I was able to handle.
“I won't even touch the rest because you never know with such clunkers,” said the guy at the repair shop. “We touch one thing and the rest will break apart.”
Maybe he was right? Maybe it was time to replace the clunker with a better model. But which one? Scott, Author, Wheeler or… why not make my own bicycle, like the ones Jules and Li were riding? When I met these two girls in Georgia they were planning to ride their bikes to Sydney. On that sunny Warsaw morning I realized the Bamboo Odyssey – as the girls had called their adventure – was back on track.

I don't know much about bicycles. I know where the seat is, the wheels and handlebars. But you need some more refined knowledge and tools to build a bike. Do I know anybody who deals with bicycles? I actually knew just one such person – Mateusz Rudy Kubiak. We studied together, and back in those days he used to race a lot. We lost touch, until last year we were united again by Facebook. I wrote to him:
Me: Hi! I have a favor to ask. I want to build a bamboo bicycle. Looking for a workshop and help from someone who knows about bikes, can you recommend anyone?
I didn't have to wait long for the reply.
Mateusz: I have a good place. They're not cheapest, but they will build you a good bike.
Me: I don't want them to build it. I want to build it myself with a little help from someone.
Mateusz: In that case, the guys from Brwinów will be perfect. I'll give them a call today to say you will contact them.
Me: Great! So I can mention you?
Mateusz: You can tell them you're from Rudy, they may not know me by my real name:) But where's the idea from?
Me: In Georgia I met girls who rode from London to Australia on such bikes.
Rudy: Wow, so this really works! I thought these were 'art for art's sake' kind of bikes.
To be frank, Mateusz did not start to believe in bamboo bikes until a few weeks later. He posted a bamboo beauty on my wall on Facebook, signing it: “It does exist!”
Meanwhile, the guys from Brwinów did not take up the challenge. After a few days I got an e-mail saying:

“Dorota, I am forced to recommend a different place that will be able to assist you – run by Jarosław Baranowski. He knows the question of taping and generally combining tubes inside out, maybe not bamboo tubes but tubes generally. As far as I know, he owns a large workshop with enough room for your project.”

Light at the end of the tunnel
I e-mailed the man later that day, and got a reply after a few hours:

I've been thinking about building such a frame for a few years. It looks great, it's quite light, personalized, but here's the end of advantages.
It takes much work to build a bamboo frame. There will be obstacles on the way. You need to be aware of this. Most of these problems you will be able to solve with our help. We have much experience, technical background and the technology needed. If only you're not afraid of new experiences, we would be happy to collaborate.
Before we meet, please give me a call.
Jarosław Baranowski”

We met a few days later in his workshop. The decision was made – let's get started!

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