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When it comes to fashion, there is no dearth of available choices for someone living in this modern world. A similar conundrum is true of travel too; multiple options are readily available when you are on the lookout for a suitable and sustainable vehicle. Motorbikes, scooters, budget cars, coupes, vans, luxury cars, SUV’s, and then there is the humble bicycle. It is quite amazing to see how more and more people are opting to use bicycles over other vehicles for commuting in today’s fast-paced world.
When considering the eco-friendly and green aspect of choosing to ride a bicycle to school or to work, why leave the other aspects untouched? The apparel, the cornucopia of trendy, trendy accessories and the other products made from highly sustainable materials that we can wear when riding a bike can also fall under the eco-friendly category. There are plenty of options available out there that are specifically designed to combine style and sensibility and fun with eco-friendliness.
Enter the Bambike
Visionary and young entrepreneur Brian Mclelland, an American citizen, thought up the unique concept of creating the Bambike, a bike made out of bamboo. In partnership with a local NGO, Gawad Kalinga, a community development group working to provide sustainable livelihood practices and small businesses to help alleviate poverty in the Philippines, Brian aims to provide members of a local community with a viable source of income and livelihood, teaching them the necessary skills and technical expertise to create and handcraft bikes which are not only very light, durable, great to look at as well as to ride. Manila is said to be one of the most polluted of the world’s capitals and this is welcome news indeed, as the bike is a very interesting concept which has caught the interest of eco-awareness groups and individuals concerned about the worsening state of greenhouse gas emissions and its debilitating effects on the environment and our dwindling natural resources.
The Bambike, which costs around $2400, is a great example that being fashion-forward and being trendy can go well along together with the concept of being green and eco-friendly. Each Bambike unit produced is carefully crafted and built by hand by local skilled labourers from select bamboo canes taken from sustainable bamboo groves maintained by locals in a town in Victoria, Tarlac, in the Philippines.
The frame of the Bambike is constructed out of specially selected, precision-cut and dried bamboo poles and wrapped with Manila hemp fibres to give the frame added durability and toughness as well as giving the bike a very distinct and unique look and finish. Bamboo, according to Mclelland is “one of the greenest building materials on earth, so bicycles built out of bamboo are, more or less, the greenest way to get around.” The local craftsmen all come from a background of hardships and severe poverty, with most barely eking out enough to be able to feed their families three square meals a day. Because of Mclelland’s efforts at establishing the Bambike Workshop, the workers and their local community are elated to see their efforts slowly bearing fruit and a significant improvement can already be seen in their daily lives. Parts of the proceeds of each Bambike sold will be funnelled to fund similar sustainability and livelihood programs across the country, meaning that money spent on each Bambike will go a long way towards reducing acute poverty and improving the lives of many Filipinos who will benefit from similar projects to this unique business model.
We all know that more and more people are joining the bandwagon of going ‘green’ and together with environmentalists and concerned individuals, have started to use bikes as an easy and healthy way to get and conserve our natural resources all in one go. With the Bambike, not only do you have a classy, trendy ride as your means of getting around, you are also doing your own part to mitigate and lessen the effects of global warming and lessen our carbon foootprint. Maybe in the next few years we’ll be popping on a helmet, make sure that bike lights are in good working order and riding off on our Bambikes – could these stylish, practical yet eco-friendly be the future of bicycles?