First Person A rare ride, the bamboo bicycle Erba Cycles’ Randall Levere turns heads with the unexpected material he uses in his South Boston cycling business. ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Lane Turner/Globe Staff Former engineer Randall Levere turns heads with the unexpected material he uses in his South Boston cycling business, Erba Cycles. Lane Turner/Globe Staff He makes bicycles out of bamboo. Levere says he uses a species of bamboo that "is strong like steel alloy." Lane Turner/Globe Staff Discarded bamboo trimmings at Levere's Boston office. Lane Turner/Globe Staff "I was an engineer after college, but it was too much about minutiae; my heart wasn’t in it," Randall Levere says. He was inspired to try something different in 2009 while on a trip to France. Lane Turner/Globe Staff "I had a workshop in the South End for my consulting work, so I brought in some tools and built a prototype. Something about bamboo spoke to me. It is different and really beautiful," Levere says. Lane Turner/Globe Staff He was surprised by the first bamboo bike that he made, because it rode beautifully. He didn't notice potholes the way he did with his steel-frame bike. Lane Turner/Globe Staff "When I pedaled really fast, it was quick, like carbon fiber," Levere says. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Levere is launching his first tour with the bamboo bikes. Tour dates will be announced on Erba Cycles’ Facebook page. "The intent is to get people on the bikes and talk to them and get a reaction," he says.