Design

Shashishekhar Pathak’s 100% Hand-made Bamboo Cycles

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Shashishekhar Pathak’s 100% Hand-made Bamboo Cycles

Shashishekhar Pathak’s 100% Hand-made Bamboo Cycles

“I design cycles that are 100% hand-crafted. People get more amazed when they find out that these are all made out of bamboo”.

Heavy pour outside since morning! I am sitting inside Shashishekhar Pathak’s living room; pastel coloured walls and big windows, with the sound of rain filling the room ambience. Shashishekhar is the founder and designer of Bamboochi Cycles. I see the first bamboo cycle that he designed standing elegantly by the large window in front of me. There is also a second cycle, the tandem bicycle. A closer look at it’s bamboo frame reveals the craftsmanship and nuance with which bamboo has been integrated into a functional bicycle.

Shashishekhar is just back from flying duty from Pawan Hans, Mumbai. He comes and sits across from me on the couch. Hot tea is being served by his wife, Devika. His face carries the expressions of a calm and thinking man who takes satisfaction in the things that he has crafted with own hands. Yes, each of the Bamboochi cycle is 100% hand-crafted.

Shashi says, “After joining Indian Airforce on short service commission, I retired after 10 years of service and joined civil aviation as a helicopter pilot in 2002. Being a keen observer, I always wanted to do something experimental. Then one day, I happened to watch a program on TV about bamboo cycles. And it is then that this idea came to me of making bamboo cycles here in India. Co-incidentally, we had bought a small piece of land some time back in a village near Pune, which already had bamboo plantation. So me and my wife thought why don’t we try making our own bamboo cycles?”

Reminiscing over the beginnings, he says, “It took us close to one and a half years to understand the technicalities of integrating bamboo into a bicycle frame and to make our first cycle. It was not perfect but it made us see and understand several other aspects about the design requirements”.

Saying that, he points towards his second bicycle, which was a tandem bicycle (a.k.a bicycle for two). He tells us, “The front rider is called the captain and the rear rider is called the stoker. There needs to be a perfect co-ordination between the two riders. Each cycle is customized as per the weight and body build of the riders. We now ride this bike every weekend and people are just amazed to see this kind of a cycle on the road. Many a times, people walk up to us and inquire about it. They get more amazed when they find out that this is a bamboo cycle”.

He has converted one of the rooms in the house into his workshop. Amid the drill, cutter and stacks of bamboo, stands the third cycle – Bamboochi Electric. He shows us the electric battery fitted to its frame. “This has a paddle-assist system and comes with a five-speed setting. A control unit is fixed to the handle to choose the amount of push you need from the battery. So although you need to paddle, you are getting an equal additional push from the battery, thus making the riding experience seamless. Me and my wife have extensively used this cycle on the road. One charge gives around 80 kms of range in city conditions.  One big advantage is that due to its light weight (only 17 kgs), it doesn’t require more than 40% push from the battery and glides effortlessly.”

Pointing out to the advantages of using bamboo over metal, Shashishekhar points out, “Due to the fiber density, tensile strength and light weight, bamboo becomes a very good material. It’s also a very good shock absorbent. And because it is 100% organic, it leaves behind no harmful waste in the environment”.

Like every person, Shashishekhar Pathak too has some plans for the future. He says, “We often drive down to our piece of land to cut bamboo. It is on such trips that we get the chance to interact with the locals. And thanks to these interactions, I now know that one day when the demand gets high, I will set up a small workshop there. The youngsters of that village brim with talent and energy. But due to the inaccessibility and lack of infrastructure, no real development has happened here. It is my wish to give them employment and encourage them to work towards a better life. And hopefully, as and when my manufacturing unit is set up there, soon other development would follow”.

This down to earth man, Shashishekhar Pathak, is whom I have come to know through this interaction. A retired IAF pilot and an inspiring designer and founder of Bamboochi.
 

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Tag: Bamboochi

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The Tribal Box

The Tribal Box brings you a panorama of stories from all across the country- stories that inspire, connect and motivate our audience in the journey towards building a better, vibrant world. Our team of dedicated filmmakers is committed towards finding such tales with varied aesthetics, sensibilities and backgrounds. With this, we hope to underline that no matter who you are, where you are, any big feat is possible if only you dare to dream.

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