Not all the rage, but definitely part of it, bamboo bicycles have become more popular in recent years with companies all over the world looking to make high-quality bikes while reducing the carbon-footprint of manufacturing. Bamboo has long been one of the most durable, eco-friendly materials for many production needs, and deserves all the attention it can get.
The new bamboo bikes generally use traditional materials for wheels, brakes, gears, and chain, but uses bamboo for the very cool looking frames. Who said being green can’t be stylish? But beyond the looks, these bikes also offer a very smooth ride. Bamboo is a naturally vibration-damping material, making it easy and comfortable to navigate bumpy roads and natural terrain. And, should you crash, bamboo’s strength keeps the frame from sustaining much harm.
The bamboo itself is heat and smoke treated for strength and durability, and is done so in simple ways that are much easier than the shaping of a metal frame. Should you be an enterprising individual, this can even be done in an oven. And to protect the wood from water damage, all that is required is a simple coat of sealant such as polyurethane.
But the bamboo bike is the source of even larger ambitions that reach beyond just eco-friendliness. While still fighting climate change, programs in Africa have been set up to combat poverty, the problem of rural-urban migration, and high unemployment. With scientists bringing the art of making bamboo bikes to towns in Africa, they hope to present locals with an opportunity that uses the local resources to establish a sustainable business while addressing some of the community’s problems that inhibit its growth. The business hopes to employ young locals in both the manufacture and the harvest of resources while creating a product that makes transportation, for both business and personal reasons, quicker and easier. The ultimate hope is more integrated communities with the ability to work together to defeat the extreme poverty that makes life so difficult for so many. There are many projects in existence, such as the Bamboo Bike Project, and all are more than worthy of financial or promotional support.