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Posted on April 8, 2013 by Luca Andriani

Can a bike erase everything that a car has done? Leo Burnett Lisbon decided to find out the answer to this challenging question with its new project CARMA for B-Bicycle Culture Magazine, a quarterly magazine about the passion for cycling. For this project, Rcicla Bicletas built a bicycle out of the scrap of a retired Mercedes hoping that the heavy karma of the car could be rebalanced by riding the same number of kilometres in a greener way: just by cycling. Everything started on a junkyard, where hundreds of old cars after a long life of burning fossil fuels, lay in wait  in piles of junk and steel. An old Mercedes was waiting for Vitor and Kiko, the founders of Rcicla Bicletas to sacrifice its body to compensate for its long dirty past. Taking apart the pieces of the car was true surgery where the two colleagues managed to recycle as many parts as possible; from the door handle to the rooftop upholstery, all the way to the engine sprocket and rear light reflectors. As they say themselves in a series of short films that follow the building process, ”from a structural point of view, it was quite difficult. Building a bicycle exclusively with car parts is almost impossible. Although it took a lot of hard work,  it was built the way we imagined it, almost entirely with the car parts, and what couldn’t be built with them, has its personal touch.”And so Carma was born. But of course since cycling is not just riding a bicycle, the old Mercedes is also being reborn through a limited edition of cycling accessories made from the car’s upholstery. Geraldo Cirineu, the creator of the brand Rasto that is dedicated to urban cyclists, revitalised the leather upholstery from the old seats by combining it with the rooftop fabric, designing items such as a tailor made saddle and a bag for the Carma bicycle. Not to be underestimated, an essential aspect of the project is, beyond of course the green message, the importance of sharing. The bicycle is not to be sold, or borrowed or even donated; it has to be shared, so everyone can contribute to the kilometres that need to be ridden. Additionally, according to this principle, a unique typeface inspired by the bicycle frame will soon be available for everyone to download and use for free. With this unconventional initiative, Leo Burnett Lisbon and B-Bicycle Culture Magazine are trying to raise a constructive debate about the future of urban mobility and so called green alternatives in that field. The CARMA project will be launched during March and everyone will be able to ride the bicycle contributing to the 159,768 kilometres covered in the original car. In this upcoming event, visitors will have the opportunity to attend the premiere of a short film created by Leo Burnett Lisbon, in cooperation with Albiñana Films , view a photographic exhibition about the construction of the bicycle, but primarily, see the limited edition of cycling accessories, up close. 

video screenshot © CARMA Project