Bandha Bikes is a project to increase access to transportation for people in Ugandan villages. By creating and distributing bamboo bikes, they can help the residents achieve basic needs and access to resources. Most Ugandans spend their time walking since there are no other options, and they need to get to places where they can find food, water, schools, work and health.

Riding a bicycle is four times faster than walking, so they can have more access to the things they need. They have identified several local sources of mature bamboo to sustainably harvest. Then, they are importing the hemp wrap for the joints and the epoxy, with an estimated total build cost of a complete bike is $250.

Bandha is seeking donations to bring these bamboo bicycles to Uganda. They are running a crowdfunding campaign where donations are tax-deductable, and all funds raised will be to run a pilot program in Lwanda village.

7 COMMENTS

  1. While I can appreciate the effort, but surely there is a more efficient way to provide bicycle for Africa.

    $250 build cost is outrageous…. A Roadmaster cost $80 in Walmart here in the US, that means it likely costs $40 to make and ship to America, and being Africa is so much closer to the US, I imagine that price can be even be lower.

    If the purpose to to provide them with an bike, ship them from China. If the purpose is to stimulate the local economy, build a businesses that can compete with China with the lower labor cost in Africa. A $250 price just shows me how there is so much lack of understanding of business and the economy from that of the founders.

  2. I’m sure the Flying Pigeons and Indian Roadsters they already have in Africa are considerably cheaper, and quite possibly longer lasting.

    I have a MAJOR issue. They haven’t even made a real proof of concept model.

    Take a look at their webpage, and the picture is of a bamboo covered steel old 10 speed. At most, it’s a steel bike with some of the tubes cut out and replaced with bamboo. That means it has all the problems of a steel bike, plus the complications of adding bamboo to it.

    Not to mention, the fork isn’t bamboo, the rest isn’t bamboo. The only thing that is bamboo is the frame, and a cheap frame can be had for well under $100. The rest is imported.

    This reeks of some sort of scam.

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkTKiia1pSI

    Take a look at this video.

    Take a close look at the dropouts. It’s an old steel frame that has been cut up, there’s still seatstay and chainstay stubs attached.

    The seat tube clamp? It’s a cut up seat tube. The obvious answer when making a frame with a metal seat tube insert, or really any modern frame is a cheap $3 seat clamp, not a brazed seat lug with an integrated clamp.

    You’ll notice the head tube has two large unpainted circles where the top tube and downtube would meet it.

    You can see bits of chopped up frame tubes if you watch closely.

    Are they trying to say they have a huge supply of trashed frames to cut up for these parts, or that they’re planning on converting normal bikes into cargo bikes with bamboo?

    They’re just chopping up steel frames to make bamboo frames. Wasteful to the extreme.

    If they were serious, they would have shown how they could make a frame without destroying another frame in the process.

  4. Just give the villagers the $250 and let them decide what to do with it. I bet they can come up with a way to end up with some working bikes AND have money left over…

    -Walt

  5. so many things wrong with this. There are plenty of reasons to reconsider donating to what seems like a good cause (read “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Moyo or any other critique of the Aid Industry) but if after that you still want to donate to an aid organization that is bicycle-focused, your money should go here: http://www.worldbicyclerelief.com They’re the only ones doing this kind of thing and doing it anywhere close to right.
    Additionally: bamboo as a frame material for production bikes is insanely stupid. Yes, Bamboo has lots of cool properties but consistency is not one of them. Because the “tube sizes” are never the same, production resembles craft hand building and will never be as cost effective as using metal tube that comes in standard sizes. In order for it to be made into a bike frame it needs to be joined using very caustic and relatively expensive glue. Bamboo is also a natural material that will rot and decay if given the opportunity. Sealing the bamboo from the elements is required and adds to the overall cost. Bamboo as a frame material is a novelty and any organization who is trying to market it as a great way to “save Africa” is either really stupid or is trying to swindle you.

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