Wooden bike made using our flax twine

Sustainable wooden bicycles made using our flax twine

Trying to do your bit for the planet by cycling more? Brilliant!

Regardless of what it’s made from, riding a bike (rather than driving a car) reduces your reliance on fossil fuels – and that can only ever be a good thing for the environment.

But did you know, the biggest energy use in the UK is embodied energy?

That’s the technical term for the energy used to make goods. And to make the aluminium bicycle you’re currently using to do the daily commute, an enormous amount of energy is required.

Not only is refining metals a highly energy-intensive process, it also produces a great deal of carbon dioxide (CO2). As such, a conventional aluminium bike typically embodies 40kWh per kg of energy – approximately four times as much as that found in petrol!



This is the difficulty that social enterprise, BEAMZ, has endeavoured to solve.

Back in 2014, Nick Coates – professional engineer and founder of the project – had an epiphany, suddenly realising that hardwood poles (i.e. the young stems of broadleaf trees) are an engineer-optimised structure. On a weight-for-weight basis, as long as their structure is kept intact from end to end, they offer just as much (if not more) strength as aluminium.

And most importantly, hardwood poles are a carbon-negative material.

The growing process only requires rainwater and CO2 taken from the atmosphere, and it’s completely powered by the sun – through the natural process of photosynthesis.

Soon after, the first BEAMZ wooden bicycle was born. A structural solution, comprised of wooden poles and natural fibres – which uses 95% less energy to make than a conventional metal bike.


Example of a BEAMZ wooden bicycle


When Nick ordered some flax twine from us and left us a very kind review, we had never come across wooden bikes before. Not only were we intrigued by the idea, we were incredibly proud that one of our products is being put to such a fantastic, impactful use.

These are beautiful, high-performance bicycles that are produced in a sustainable environmentally friendly way, and we think everyone needs to make the switch as soon as possible.


What is the role of flax twine in the manufacturing process?


Many other businesses and enterprises make bamboo bikes, and common practice is to use fibre and resin reinforced joints. These are built up into a lump around the joint and then sanded back to a smooth finish. However, at BEAMZ, they decided not to do this.

This is partly because of the superior strength of the wood, as it allows them to rely on the wooden joint strength to a greater extent. But it’s also to eliminate the time-consuming and toxic sanding stage. Instead, they make a feature of the joint by binding it with flax twine.

Our flax twine, to be precise!

Why? Not only is flax one of the strongest natural fibres available, it’s also sustainable for several reasons:


  • It’s plant-based

Flax is derived from a plant (Linum Usitatissimum) that’s grown throughout the world. It’s fast-growing, and a crop can be replenished very quickly, making it a highly renewable resource.


  • No pesticides are required

Very few, if any, chemical pesticides and fertilisers are required for flax to grow. In fact, in many cases, natural rainfall is all that’s needed for it to cultivate successfully.

What’s more, as the flax plant is only cultivated annually, this has a positive effect on the ecosystem – creating a welcome environmental pause for soil quality and biodiversity.


  • It’s bio-degradable

Rather than adding to landfill, flax twine is 100% biodegradable and compostable.


Flax plants used to make flax twine


The benefits of a wooden bicycle


Aside from the key environmental benefit, wooden bicycles – particularly those crafted by BEAMZ – boast a wide range of additional advantages. This includes, but is by no means limited to:


  • Excellent strength-to-weight ratio

On a weight-for-weight basis in practical structural applications, wooden bikes are comparable in strength to a conventional metal bike (if not stronger!).


  • Improved ride quality

As wood is shock-absorbent, you’ll be treated to a smoother, more pleasant ride.


  • Natural beauty

All BEAMZ wooden bicycles are made to order and, therefore, every bike is unique.


  • Robust finish

This is a bike for life. As a long-lasting and resilient product, each wooden bike is resistant to dents and scratches. And the frame design and fittings have been through a rigorous system of testing and approval, in line with UK standards.


Our flax twine on the BEAMZ wooden bike


Want to learn more?

BEAMZ wooden bicycles are an exquisite artisan product, grown by nature and crafted by people who are keen to save the planet. We think they’re pretty amazing, here at RopesDirect – and not just because our flax twine is used in their production!

If you’re trying to do your bit for the environment, be sure to head over to their website. There you’ll find lots of detailed information, on the BEAMZ bike itself, the manufacturing process, and the overall vision and aims of this fantastic not-for-profit enterprise. Take a look and consider making a worthwhile life-long investment!

Or, if you’ve also used our flax twine recently – perhaps to make something equally wonderful – we’d love to hear from you. We’re always delighted to read your reviews and see photographs of our twines and strings in action, and contacting us is really easy. You can either submit a testimonial using our online form or send an email to info@ropesdirect.co.uk.

Promoting our customer’s interests – as much as our own – is important to us and we love posting your stories on our social media pages. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


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