When we think of bamboo, most minds will drift towards a cute mental image of a Panda having a good chew on this wood-like food. Other than feeding Pandas, bamboo is commonly used as a decorative material to create things like flooring and rugs, but you may be surprised to discover some of the other uses for this quick-growing form of grass.
Photo via odonata98on Flickr
Not many people are aware that bamboo is a popular material for fly fishing rods. Although it might seem an obvious shape for a rod, the bamboo is actually split into strips, reassembled into different angles and then bound together again. The end product is a smooth finish very unlike its natural form.
Bamboo can be used to create musical instruments such as flutes, xylophones, drums and chimes because of its resonant quality. So forget the expensive trip down to your music store for a new instrument, simply fashion your own out of some handy bamboo.
Some other uses include using it as a fibre to make clothing, so you can literally wear it. It can also be used to make paper from the bamboo cane pulp, and a company in China have produced a range of traditional toys made from bamboo such as dominoes.
The weirdest use of all though, is that bamboo can be utilised to make bikes. You can actually ride down your street on a bamboo bike. A company in California have used this Panda delicacy to craft bicycle frames which they state are vibration dampening and stiff, also giving a very comfortable ride. Bamboo bikes do not come cheap though, with prices ranging from $2-4000 so you’ll need to get saving to boast about your bamboo bike to your friends.
If you make the decision to attempt to grow bamboo in your back garden because you have now realised its awesome power, then beware. Bamboo is the fastest growing form of grass, with some growing up to a foot a day in the right conditions. It is also one of the most resilient, so if you decide that enough is enough and the bamboo has to go, you’ll have a hard time shifting it no matter how aggressive your methods!
Bamboo is used around the world in many different ways, and this is just a weird and wonderful selection of its many uses. So now that you know that you can eat it, wear it, play it and ride it, maybe the cute mental image of a Panda will be replaced with one of its many other cool applications.
If you fancy growing your own bamboo plants then this site might be a useful place to start. Good luck! You’ll find lots of useful resources here (The European Bamboo Society Homepage). Have you seen any unusual uses for Bamboo? Let us know by sharing your comments with us below!