Farmer in India creates ‘tree bike’ to race up 100-foot-tall trees

A talented farmer in South India has built a ‘tree bike’ to vertically ride on areca palm trees, which grow up to 100 feet.

All he has to do is sit on its seat, start the engine and hold the clutch and accelerator simultaneously. Filmed on June 4, the ‘tree bike’s’ tiny 9-inch tyres race up the thin trees in 30-seconds flat.

Ganapathi Bhat, 49, of Komale village near Bantwal in southern India tried building a similar machine 10 years ago without much success.

Seven months ago he started working on the concept again and finished the ‘tree bike’ in May using standard motorbike components such as clutch, accelerator, double brakes, shock absorbers and a 2.1 HP petrol engine.

“The first time I took a ride to the top, I asked my son to be ready to call an ambulance,” says Bhat.

But the machine proved to be safe and he climbed 150 trees before demonstrating it to local farmers.

''I have used high-quality components. But if there is a mechanical failure, it stops midway. You just press the clutch to gently glide it down.”

Bhat spent about 8 lakhs to develop the ‘tree bike’. Fifty local farmers have lined up to buy his machine, which he plans to sell at Rs 75,000 a piece.

Bhat is a graduate in science and earlier was a popular ‘technician’ in his area, who could fix all kinds of machines.

“That background helped and I have several ideas like this,” he says.

The machine comes as a boon to Indian areca nut farmers who are struggling with a severe labour shortage. Spraying chemicals and harvesting areca nuts are specialised jobs.

“Expert workers are hard to come by and are expensive,” says Bhat.