Pedal Power! How Bamboo Bikes Are Changing Lives Worldwide.

by Stacey Irwin on February 15, 2011 · 0 comments

in Bamboo's Worldwide Impact

Since the inception of the Bamboo Bike Project, intended to provide sturdy, locally-made bamboo bikes to people in Africa, the idea of the bamboo bike has flourished.  Realizing that they had a native, sustainable material with incredible tensile strength like bamboo right at their hands and that the bikes built could provide transport in countries where people are forced to walk mile upon mile to markets, medical care, to visit families and even to get water, inspired entrepreneurs worldwide to re-create this initiative.

As for the Bamboo Bike Project, things have been getting bigger and better.  BBP has partnered up with the Earth Institute’s Millennium Cities Initiative has led to a partnership with a local investor in Kumasi, Ghana who leased a production facility in the city and reached agreements to harvest local bamboo.  KPMG, an Earth Institute Partner, analyzed the feasibility of bamboo bicycle production in Ghana and found that the bamboo bikes could be produced for less than $50 which means they can be sold for significantly less than the imported bikes from China or India.  And just last month, the building of the bike factory in Ghana commenced with local citizens receiving training and certification on building the bamboo bikes.  Things are rolling right along!

Meanwhile, also in Ghana, the Ghana Bamboo Bikes initiative (recent recipient of a SEED Initiative package) is looking to boost the local company by making their bikes a popular export for a country that lives in poverty.  This year alone, they are looking to sell about 300 bikes this year, mainly for export to the United States.  Their long-term goal is to reduce the cost of production enough to make the bikes more accessible for rural farmers in Ghana.

And while BBP and the Ghana Initiative aim to help with rural transportation, an entrepreneur in the Philippines is hoping to reduce the polluting traffic congestion in large cities with his own bamboo bicycle invention. (In particular, the city of Manila which Reuters recently reported as one of the most polluted capitals in the world.)   The BamBike is the brainchild of Bryan McClelland who recently formed Bamb Ecological Technology to produce these bikes whose frames are made from cut and dried bamboo while the joints on the frame are wrapped with fibres from Manila and then sealed with a resin adhesive.  Customers will have their choice of regular pedal-powered bikes or an electrically powered bike for some added oomph while traveling through city traffic.  And like the Bamboo Bike Project, these BamBikes are produced locally and made with fair-trade labor.  As McClelland says, he helms a company that “is interested in helping out people and their planet.”

The influence of the bamboo bike is spreading among Asian countries.  Most recently, a series of Bamboo Bike Workshops in Jakarta were held to show city commuters how to easily build and repair the simple bamboo bikes known as “fixies.”

Perhaps, one day soon, the bamboo bike will be commonplace here in the U.S and we can all pedal off some pounds and travel easily with a sustainably-produced product. Other People are taking Eco-friendly techniques and implementing into business proposals for new living development areas to make sure that they are using the best environmentally friendly resources.

For more on how bamboo is changing the world, visit Green Earth News section on Bamboo’s Worldwide Impact.

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