photo: Bamboo Bike Studio
If you ever get a hankering to merge your love of DIY projects, bamboo and bicycling, plus want to support a good cause in the process, then look no further than Bamboo Bike Studio's two day bike manufacturing course. The only thing standing in your way (if you don't already live in the metro-NYC area) is coming to Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the $1000 course price tag:Start Building on Saturday, Ride Home on Sunday
Don't be scared off though by that price, it includes two days of instruction and all the materials required to ride off on your own bamboo bike at the end of the weekend. All the bamboo is harvested locally in New Jersey (check out a slideshow of bamboo harvesting) and each bike is custom fitted to the student's body and riding style.
But that's not even the really cool part of it all: Part of the class cost goes to support Bamboo Bike Studio's partnership with The Earth Institute at Columbia University's Bamboo Bike Project and Millennium Cities Initiative to raise seed money for Ghana's first bamboo bike factory.
Bamboo Bikes Less Expensive, More Durable Than Imports
The Bamboo Bike Studio touts the goal of bringing bamboo bikes to Ghana:
Humans can walk at a rate of about 2 miles an hour, and ride a bicycle 10 miles an hour— that equals a 27-fold increase in transportation reach each day, if you own a bike. In developing countries, where basic resources can often be a day's walk away, bicycling can boost access to crucial needs and economic and social activities.
Currently, the most prevalent style of bicycle in African, Asian and Latin American developing communities is the "Roadster." Designed in early 20th-century Britain, the Roadster was intended for weekend pleasure riding and is ill suited to the heavy loads and poor roads of the developing world. Further, the importation of these bikes from Asia nearly triples their price, rendering them unaffordable to the majority of our target communities, and the low quality steel used in frame construction is prone to buckling and bending under common loads.
Bamboo bicycle factories will provide a lower-cost, more durable, locally manufactured form of transport specifically designed for local terrain. The product built in these factories— reliable and cost-conscious bicycles— will improve access to commerce, education, food and water, and health care services.
For a more detailed analysis of what brining light industrial manufacturing in the form of bamboo bikes to Ghana, read KPMG's: Bamboo Bicycles in Kumasi, Ghana (PDF)
To find out more about how you can build you own bamboo bike, contact: Bamboo Bike Studio
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