Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of bamboo groves, nurseries and farms both in the US and in China, but Dendrocalamus has alluded me. It’s a rather mysterious species known for its solid fibers, durability and ability to refrain from cracking – a golden species prized among many frame builders including Panda (Sanded), Boo Cycles, Calfee and BBS.
Here is a first hand documentation of the species from a 75 acre strictus plantation in Mexico.
I arrived mid morning with the birds chirping and day still rather cool. Temperatures can reach upwards of 100+ degrees here mid-day with a thick humidity that sticks all over. I walked around the farm, scouting the environment that birthed our lovely bikes.. finding a handful of culms in various stages of growth: post-harvest, air dried, sunburned and fungal decay.
First impression – soft, supple and easily dinged. The fresh stalks felt firm and smooth but soft to the touch - they perspired in the early morning sun like they just came out of a sauna. I took a fingernail to the fresh stalk and was able to etch a line across the surface with ease. I took this as a sign of low silicon on the skin. Unlike Moso and Henon bamboo varietals, the grove expressed a much more rugged appearance.. a big of mangled jungle rather than the tranquility bamboo groves usually induce.
Left & Right - Before and after shots of fingernail scratch.
Ok I lied, as a whole they're still pretty tranquil.. just a little rugged looking.
An interesting find: an antique stained bamboo chair with sharkskin leather coverings.