“What the heck is a bamboosero?” That is the question I asked as well when I first heard about this new bicycle initiative. In short, they are bikes with bamboo frames. However, these new bikes offer much more than just a means of transportation.
Craig Calfee knows a few things about building bikes. He has built them for Greg Lemond and other renowned professional racers. Calfee put his knowledge of bikes towards a more philanthropic use. His idea was simple: connect bike builders in developing countries with bike buyers around the world. This is a win-win for everyone because you not only get a bike, but it also helps working families support themselves, injects badly needed foreign currency into struggling economies, and creates the production capacity for an incredibly efficient local transport.
Why bikes? Well we all know this answer – bikes are reliable, efficient, eco-friendly and enjoyable. Why bamboo, though? It is sustainable, strong and long lasting. Bamboo is also flexible, so it absorbs road shocks. It is found in the countries where the bikes are being built so there is no transportation cost, and it does not need electric tools to be worked on.
Building these bikes creates lasting jobs for struggling families in third world countries. Ghana, Zambia, Philippines, Uganda, and New Zealand are currently making and selling these bikes. Many other countries are in the process setting up their operations. Check out their sight if you’re interested http://www.bamboosero.com/index.html.
This isn’t the only company taking part in this new initiative. Zambikes, in Zambia, was started by two California men and two Zambians. http://www.new.zambikes.org/ There is also The Bamboo Bike Studio in Brooklyn, NY with another opening in San Francisco at the end of the year. Here you can build your own bamboo bike. http://bamboobikestudio.com/index.html
Bikes – what a great invention!! With active and creative minds, these remarkable things are serving as more than just a way to get around.