By Jenn (TinyChoices.com) | March 3, 2009
Ya’ll know I’m a bike-lover. It’s true! Riding just plain makes me happy. Plus there’s the whole non-polluting mode of transportation bit, and also the part about getting exercise instead of sitting on my butt, etc.
The Bamboo Bike Project is a project by Scientists and Engineers at The Earth Institute at Columbia University, and aims to examine the feasibility of implementing cargo bikes made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa. The ultimate goals of the project are:
To build a better bike for poor Africans in rural areas.
To stimulate a bicycle building industry in Africa to satisfy local needs.
They’ve figured out how to build a strong bike frame using bamboo (which can be easily grown, without pesticides, in temperate climates) and are working on creating a localized bike-building cottage industry to roll the project out in a way that can make a real impact. Given that bicycles are still the primary mode of transportation for many millions of people in developing areas the world over, it seems logical to give folks a viable way to build their own bikes from a strong and appropriate material which is lighter on the earth than a steel or carbon fiber frame would be. Also, shipping only components (rather than fully assembled bikes) requires way fewer resources– for example: “A container could hold parts for ca. 2000 bicycles, whereas it would only hold ca. 500 complete bicycles.”
Also, check out the World’s Toughest Indoor Bamboo Bicycle Race! And if the bikes can hold their own against the mean streets of NYC I think the team is on to something good.
Looking forward to keeping tabs on this project as it unfolds!
[Image from BambooBikeProject]
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