no one line

27 times the opportunity
December 18, 2009, 3:52 pm
Filed under: General, politics

For all of the bike-nerd talking about materials, butted tubings, carbon weaves, integrated headsets, and aerodynamic wheels you’d think that this stuff was actually important in some way. Indeed, some people really think that bikes are a revolution of sorts, and the potential is there. While retrofitting American cities to be more conducive to automobile travel – in order to mitigate the inefficiencies and toxic effects of automobile reliance – is no doubt a way to bring this country into the 21st century, a very real, very immediate way that the presence of a bicycle can change a society can be seen in the Africa Bike project by BicyclingMagazing and Kona. Bicycles, as simple, reliable transportation in areas that are struggling to maintain and develop, can vastly increase the ability of health care providers to provide health care.

And while every classics season or Grand Tour I’ll eagerly click through whatever cycling-news venue is carrying the coolest pictures of pro rides sporting the latest industry developments, the really cool area of technological development of bicycles is in bamboo (interestingly enough, also present in pro racing). What’s the point of nonsense like this? Well, Bamboo bikes can have a significant impact on the developing world, and the mobility they afford can provide owners with 27 times the economic opportunity that they previously had.

The reason that all of this is compelling is the fact that bamboo, unlike steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber, is a frame material that can be locally grown. This drastically reduces the production overhead necessary to produce bicycles, enabling their production in developing societies. It’s the classic teach-a-person-how-to-fish scenario. Bamboo can bring bicycles, economic opportunity, and health care to the parts of the world where they’ll make the most difference.

Where bicycles actually are a revolution, not just a hobby or a way to feel ‘green.’ Kudos to the Bamboo Bike Project, to Calfee, to Bicycling Mag, and to Kona for their work.


1 Comment so far
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Excellent points! Interesting read.

Comment by KFuller

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