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Bamboo Bike Project

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.

So when I read about the Bamboo Bike Project, I knew there was something special going on.  From their site:

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:

  1. To build a better bike for poor Africans in rural areas.

  2. 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]

Topics: Activism, Transportation | 7 Comments »

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2009-03-03 16:42:49

[...] But a sustainable eco-nomic development project hopes to make bamboo bikes ubiquitous in sub-Saharan Africa: Bamboo Bike Project wants to build sustainable, eco-friendly bikes using bamboo — to create a sustainable form of transportation for poor Africans in rural areas — and to create a sustainable bike building industry in Africa to satisfy local needs (via Tiny Choices). [...]

2009-04-25 06:03:08

[...] reusable bags?  Use non-toxic and/or homemade cleaners?  Buy used?  Go vegan?  Drive less?  Ride more?  Change incandescent bulbs to CFLs or LEDs?  They’re all good ones– so pick [...]

2009-05-17 02:38:31

[...] Bamboo Bike Project Tiny Choices Posted by root 1 day 10 hours ago (http://tinychoices.com) Mar 3 2009 guest post the 2009 no cost garden middot shower curtain shame middot earth rocks reply to this comment pingback by easy peasy tip commit tiny choices tiny choices is proudly powered by wordpress designed by rfdn Discuss  |  Bury |  News | bamboo bike project tiny choices [...]

Comment by Farmer John
2009-06-30 22:02:35

We just saw a great piece on this the other night on the Green Channel! The designer was saying that the bamboo was actually stonger than steel I believe and of course it is renewable! Not to mention bamboo grows almost anywhere in the world.

Comment by Bill
2009-07-13 19:27:43

I hear that bamboo is actually one of the best materials to build bikes out of, because it is strong, light, and flexible for a more comfortable ride. I’ve been looking all over at different bamboo bikes out there and I can’t take my eyes off of what the guys at Panda Bikes are doing (http://www.ridepanda.com) – totally awesome! I’m gonna get me a bamboo commuter!

Comment by Jack
2010-02-12 10:16:32

Great project. Yes, bamboo is also one of the best/strong materials used in house construction. My fear with these bamboo bikes are: the possibility of termites infesting the frame or is it protected with some sort of coating?

Comment by lindsay
2010-04-21 15:25:19

Bamboosero have been making bamboo bikes in Zambia for years. They make a cargo model for the local market, but also the frames are available for purchase in the States, which is great because it injects badly needed foreign capital into the local Zambian economy.



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