The cycle of life

A father and son just outside of Hoi An ancient town are staking out a reputation for making good quality bamboo bicycles.

Duc Hoang and Thuy Duong on December 13,2014 04:16 PM

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The bike’s frame and handlebars are made from a species of thorny bamboo – a very hard and strong type from Dien Phuong commune in Dien Ban District, Quang Nam province. Half of the bike parts are made from bamboo, including the frame, the handlebars, the mudguards and the chain guard.

Craftsman Vo Tan Muoi, 71, and his son Vo Anh Tan, who live in Thanh Tam Dong hamlet, Cam Thanh village in central Hoi An town, Quang Nam province, are well-known among tourists for producing and selling their chic and unique family product - bamboo bicycles. The bikes, apart from wheels, tyres and joints, are mostly hand made. According to Mr Muoi, who is also famous in town as a craftsman of souvenirs and interior decor items made from bamboo, it takes him around a month to complete each bamboo bike.

‘The work take’s time and is very meticulous,’ Mr Muoi says. ‘The bicycle frame and handlebars are made from Tre gai, a type of bamboo that is quite rare because it is so difficult to harvest due to its thorns.’ The craftsman has to spend around VND2,000,000 for just one Tre gai tree. The bamboo is buried in mud for six months and dried out over six weeks in special sheds, and then goes through heat treatment and insect protection processes before being made into bicycle components.

While Mr Muoi spent his life time on bamboo and knows its practical value, his son, Vo Anh Tan, pays more attention on the look of their products. He has even created a bamboo bicycle with unique decorations to attract young and hip customers in the hope of mass producing and selling nationwide and abroad.

 

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