Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

October 20, 2012

Cardboard bikes: What'll be next?

As I was sitting on a bench in Foster Park, enjoying the peaceful water fountains, a man jogged toward me.

“Oh, no! Not Elmer again!” I panicked to myself. Sure enough, Elmer approached me with his usual snarl. I had no place to hide.

“Crazy day. I missed my doctor’s appointment over in Indy because these oversized trucks were hauling beams for some kind of bridge or something,” Elmer complained, without even saying hello. “The place was crawling with cops. I had to pull over three times to let ’em pass.”

“You mean police officers. And they don’t usually crawl,” I corrected.

“Yeah, right,” Elmer patronized. “Anyhow, I figured it’s because of all the crooks swiping anything made of metal. Remember that story in the Kokomo Tribune about how someone took them urns from the cemetery and hauled them over to the scrap metal place?”

“Yeah, I remember that. Hard to believe that anyone would do that. I guess there is no longer honor among thieves,” I philosophized. “Although I think there is a certain police-escort protocol when they transport an especially large load.”

“Well, maybe,” Elmer dismissed me skeptically. “I saw this article in The Futurist about how people are stealing metal. By coincidence, I have it on me. It reads:

“‘Metal theft may become one of the biggest criminal activities of the twenty-first century, warns University of Indianapolis criminologist Kevin Whiteacre. Targets may include construction sites, vehicle parts, plumbing and electrical equipment, and public infrastructure, where thieves see value not just in the manufactured goods themselves but also in their component metals ... Whiteacre has created a Web site, Metaltheft.net, as a repository of news and research on the phenomenon.’”

“Now that I think about it, I know sometimes thieves steal central air units for the copper tubing. And I heard of grave robbers who target gold and silver fillings,” I added.

“I have a couple of gold crowns myself,” Elmer complained. “When they send you the bill, you know why they are called crowns? The bill is a king’s ransom.”

Elmer’s cynicism gets on my nerves, so I interjected a quick conversation changer. “Elmer, would you ride a cardboard bike?”

“What kind of question is that?” Elmer objected. “Who ever heard of a cardboard bike?”

“Well,” I replied, “I happen to have my own article handy. This one reads:

“‘A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

“Izhar Gafni, 50, is ... an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard ... his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.

“Once the shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a secret concoction made of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof qualities. In the final stage, it is coated with lacquer paint for appearance.

“In testing the durability of the treated cardboard, Gafni said he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months and it retained all its hardened characteristics.

“Once ready for production, the bicycle will include no metal part ...’”

“Where did you get that article?” Elmer objected. “You been perusing those tabloids at the checkout counter? Looking for those magic cures to grow hair again?”

“No, this is the real deal. The article is from Reuters,” I defended. “And get this: The bike would sell for about $20. What an impact that could have on the third world!”

“How many speeds does it have?” Elmer countered.

“Well, only one. But maybe they’ll be able to develop multi-speeds in time,” I answered.

“A cardboard bike,” Elmer chuckled. “Well, maybe they’ll be able to make everything out of cardboard. Then those precious metals wouldn’t be so precious. Crooks would not target them anymore. But you’d better lock up them cereal boxes!”

I noted the rare experience in my mental diary: “Elmer in a happy mood today. Must be a full moon.”

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Please go away already My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven't caught up. I don't have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 21, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Internet, and future of communication One morning, I was chatting with some retired folks and the subject of paying bills on the Internet came up. One woman said she disposed of her computer years ago and pays her bills by mail. I commented she could get by just fine doing that. The othe

    July 20, 2014

  • FAITH BRAUTIGAM: Learning from others' mistakes through literature If you’ve ever been locked out of somewhere — your home, your car, your workplace — I expect you could tell me all the details of the incident, even if it was years or decades ago. Why? Our brains remember major events, and it’s a big deal to be stra

    July 20, 2014

  • RAY DAY: We need to get tough Last year I said I was going to quit trying to do anything about the shooting off of fireworks in the neighborhoods. But as anyone who knows me can say, I don't give up on things that are of utmost danger. Here it was, a week before the Fourth of Jul

    July 19, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Is this country doomed to ceaseless polarization? We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don't much like the way it's performing. The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideolog

    July 18, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller