Start with Roots, Go Anywhere
I recently caught up with an old friend (an alum of Hunter College’s esteemed media department) who put my eco-efforts to shame while telling me of his involvement with a sustainable, innovative, and downright awesome project. Justin Aguinaldo, is one in a team of engineers, scientists, designers and of course bike enthusiasts who are heading up the Bamboo Bike Project. Sponsored by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the project seeks to construct messenger bicycles out of locally sourced bamboo, with theintention of exporting this knowledge, utility and industry to rural Africa, where bikes are the best option for transportation. One could argue that they are the best mode of transport in many places, so the project can have infinite applications. In their words, the end goal of the project is: 1) to build a better bike for poor Africans in rural areas. 2) To stimulate a bicycle industry to satisfy local needs.
This project scores highly on any sustainability index. Bamboo is a seriously hardy plant and can be grown in most conditions. And it grows fast. The bamboo that these guys use in the bike lab in NYC is from New Jersey. In addition, training a work force to manufacture these bikes is good news in a place that more often than not lacks economic opportunity.
You can follow the adventures of the Bamboo Bike Project on their blog. Ride with them as they spread their wheels around the world.