In 2015, I wondered about the idea for a business that used bamboo to create bicycles as a inexpensive and sustainable mode of transportation for low-income families. As a cyclist myself, I was intrigued after researching bamboo as a material for building bicycles and learning about its short-lived past back in 19th century. In the 1850's bamboo was a rapidly growing material used for building bicycles. It was easy to source, quick to grow, and easy to work with. However, as the steel industry began to boom, the idea of bamboo slowly dissipated and the short-lived idea quickly lost traction. The idea has only recently (within the last 2 decades or so) been resurrected and making a comeback all across the world. When I chose to use bamboo I was enamored by its amazingly rapid growth rate, tensile strength and overall biological build which allowed for near perfect shock absorption.
Bamboo is used for the construction of a wide variety of products like construction, furniture, textiles, and culinary tools. So, why not bikes? In Greensboro, Alabama (where I got my inspiration) and many other places in the U.S., bamboo is a relentlessly invasive species, causing many to race it's minute-by-minute growth rate. Instead of viewing the plant as a nuisance, I view bamboo as a sustainable resource which is why it's a excellent material for building. I want to develop a bigger consumer market for Bambu Bicycles. The push for sustainability has become a focal point in urban areas and something as innovative as bikes made from bamboo would thrive in cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. These bikes are an incredibly economical substitute for owning a car or public transportation in urban and suburban areas.
My goal is to integrate Bambu Bicycles into cities and impoverished areas in order to give people a form of transpiration which can be easily and affordably built on the East Coast. While spending time in Greensboro, I had created a system for which people of low income could come into the shop, build a bike for themselves and a neighbor, and in-turn get their bike for free. I hope to bring this system forward and allow the bamboo bicycle to spread and become a part of our everyday lives. A great way to further the sustainability movement would be to incorporate bicycles made by nature.
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