Photo from Third World Tech
Third World Tech is a neat site with loads of technologies that are used and created in the developing world.
One feature on their site is this great idea of making bamboo bikes. The bicycle is such an incredibly important tool for people living on very little in low tech countries. Unfortunately, steel and aluminum bikes have to come from someplace else. By using bamboo for parts of the frame, local people can grow their own bikes.
Despite the critical need for bicycle transportation in Africa, there are no bike-building businesses. All bicycles are instead imported, and these relatively few imported bicycles are designed for well-paved roads, inappropriate for rural transportation in these regions. The Bamboo Bike Project is filling that gap. Who would’ve thought, a bicycle made mostly out of bamboo?! But this plant’s stalk is surprisingly very strong and shock-absorbent. Bicycles built with bamboo frames will allow Africans to use only a few pieces of imported parts, building the rest out of local and native bamboo.
Here is a pointer to more info on the Bamboo Bike project, and a pdf about the idea.
Check out Jason’s article on altBike frames and Gareth’s item on the Bamboo Bike.