Pound for pound, bamboo is as strong as steel when used in lightweight structures, studies have shown, with a high tensile strength that makes it a worthy and environmentally friendly substitute.
A fully assembled Spedagi bamboo bike can take a week of intricate work, fetching up to 15 million rupiahs ($1,000), and some have been sold as far away as Japan, company co-founder Tri Wahyuni told AFP.
Friendship on wheels
The green wheels used by the two leaders were built with more expensive parts, said Kartono, declining to disclose the price of their rides.
Widodo, famous at home for gifting bikes to ordinary Indonesians, is a Spedagi fan and bought one personally from Kartono in 2015.
Albanese was similarly beaming about the bike, taking it back to Canberra and saying people would see him on the streets riding what might be “the only bamboo bike” in the Australian capital.
Both bicycles and bamboo -- affordable and plentiful in Indonesia -- are closely linked with the archipelago nation’s lower classes, something that struck a chord with the two leaders from humble backgrounds.
But while the Kartono creation merged two symbols of Indonesian heritage, it is now tied to a blossoming bromance cultivated in the first weeks of Albanese’s premiership.
“Every time I ride on the bike, I will remember the friendship with President Widodo,” he said.