THE RETURN OF BAMBOO BIKES:RIDING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

BAMBOO BICYCLES

To begin with, lets get to know what a bicycle’s main function is. The bicycle is the primary mode of mobility for millions of people throughout many poorer parts of the world. In addition to individual transport, they see a vast number of applications including moving goods to market, the sick to hospital, and even the distributing of medicines.

Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that bicycles can be built using bamboo for the main tubing elements. Bamboo is a surprising strong material and has great vibration damping characteristics. It is used routinely in Asia as material for scaffolding on high-rise buildings, and has also been used to build other load bearing structure such as bridges.

 

Bamboo Bicycles and Sustainable Development Goals

One key to a sustainable bicycle business is that the bamboo can grow locally. There are several advantages to making bicycles out of bamboo. Inexpensive bicycles and parts are currently made in China and India. Shipping bicycle component parts, as opposed to complete bikes, to Africa is easier and cheaper, because of their smaller size. A container could hold parts for ca. 2000 bicycles, whereas it would only hold ca. 500 complete bicycles. Because bamboo is grown locally in Africa, and the manufacturing of bamboo bicycle frames does not require extensive infrastructure (or even electricity), bamboo bicycles have the potential to be a sustainable business that provides local employment even in areas away from power and other facilities.

If power and modern tools are available, the production of bamboo bicycles can increase. Bicycle design could easily evolve through local innovations and different bicycles could be designed for different terrains and purposes. The local people will gain skills in building bamboo bicycle, as they will have acquired translatable skills for building other types of vehicles.

Bamboo bicycles are pedal-and-chain-driven, human-powered, single-track vehicles that have two wheels attached to a bamboo frame. Because of its light weight, vibration damping, and sustainability, bamboo is slowly starting to be used in bicycle frame production, though the industry is still dominated by aluminium frames.

As you can see, Bamboo has come with a bang. Being a sustainable cash crop with tremendous kinds of products to derive from. We believe in forming partnerships in order to make such projects come to life, especially in Africa.

Lets engage. What are your thoughts about this?

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