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
  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Happy marriages do not just happen My wife, Marylu, and I met through a mutual friend. My wife had been involved with Campus Crusade at her university, where my friend, Norman, also attended. One Christmas break, Norman invited his friends from church (including me) to a party — along

    July 27, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Truth about inflation Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.Goods and services typically have a price dictated in

    July 27, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
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