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Build-Your-Own Bamboo Bike in NYC, Benefit Bicycles in Africa

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The Bamboo Bike Project, an program of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is an organization set up to let you build your own bamboo bicycle, with half the profits going toward a program that will place bamboo bikes in parts of Africa that need cheap, reliable and durable transportation.

Bamboo, which grows rapidly and is stronger and more durable than the cheap tensile steel used in most economy bikes, can be used to make bicycles that are capable of taking the abuse of New York City streets and African dirt roads alike.

The Bamboo Bike Studio, an offshoot of the BBP, will let you build your own Bamboo bicycle over a weekend for $1,250.  They provide the bamboo, materials and components and walk you through the process.  You get a sweet, durable and comfy bike that you actually built yourself, and you’re helping support communities in Ghana and Kenya.  As part of the process, you’re also helping BBS fine tune their materials selection and manufacturing procedures to the point they can mass produce bikes in Africa using locally sourced African Bamboo.

As for your bike?  It’s sourced from local Staten Island bamboo, which grows back rapidly.  All in all a very cool concept.  Thanks to Good.is for the tip.

Check out the video of how they make bamboo bicycle tubes after the break, and pics of their sweet T-shirt and Bike Jersey…

bamboo-bicycle-tshirt bamboo-bike-jersey

Purchasing a shirt or jersey from their website helps support their cause.

This contraption came about as an engineering exercise by another student that wanted to contribute.  It cuts the heat treating process down from 20 minutes per tube to about five.  Check their blog for more details about the process.

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