Sustainable Bamboo Bicycles for Impoverished Countries

Worldbike is an organization dedicated to “designing innovative bicycle prototypes to advance development in poor countries.” Their programs have been implemented on a small scale in Cuba, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and Thailand. Their website presents a background into these programs:

An estimated 1.2 billion people live in rural poverty cut off from markets, schools and clinics. With such an immense global need for sustainable transport, there’s no shortage of opportunities for bicycles to make a big difference in the lives of the rural poor.

Helping them in their mission are a lot of other innovative bike organizations. For one, the Bamboo Bike Project, a project funded by Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is aimed at establishing bamboo cargo bike manufacturers in Africa.
And just three days ago, the BBP along with the Millennium Cities Initiative and the Ghana-based Bamboo Bike Limited launched their bike training program in Ghana. This is the first step towards the “the creation of the first large-scale bamboo bike production factory in the world, with ambitions of producing up to 20,000 affordable bikes a year to serve the transportation needs of the rural poor in Ghana” (source).
The Bay Bikers Blog is optimistic that the BBP will succeed in their mission, citing the follow reasons:
  • The bikes would be cheap to produce ($50/bike)
  • Bamboo can be strong enough to last longer than metal models currently sold in Africa
  • The frames are sustainable due to bamboo being a common, native plant
  • Industry has a lot of growth potential and can improve citizens’ lives directly.
Many groups like these are trying to accomplish the same for countries all around the world. Check them out if you’re interested in contributing to the cause.

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