Before you think we have gone completely bonkers this is exactly what Zambikes have been doing since 2007, in an effort to develop employment opportunities and a useful product for Zambians. This Zambian Company is making a name for itself producing bikes from bamboo. A natural product strong enough to substitute metal and at the same time light, with amazing shock absorption properties guaranteeing comfort. It is also eye-catching and being one of the worlds fastest growing woody plants, an ideal material for creating performance bikes. We all know how well bamboo grows in our Zambian climate, but who’d have thought it would make a good bike? One has to marvel at the human minds ingenuity.
Bamboo Bikes made in Zambia
The driving force behind Zambikes is to provide a means of changing lives by giving Zambians practical skills, work and an income. Under the leadership of two Zambians and two Americans, a team of crafty Zambian bike-builders create standard cargo and mountain bikes, plus all sorts of innovative designs including a Zambulance (designed to meet specific medical needs and now in use at a number of clinics) and a Zamcart (designed with the farming community in mind and capable of carrying up to 250kgs). These Zambian-made bikes as well as being available locally, are also selling in the USA where they are going down a storm.
The bamboo used for the bikes is locally grown. It takes three years before it is strong enough to be harvested, cured and dried. The labour intensive frame assembly takes a week of hard graft but the finished product is a bike tough enough for Zambian terrain, and with adequate care and attention, will last up to ten years. Incredible for a bike that is technically made of grass!
Innovative designs including a "Zambulance" and a "Zamcart"
So will bamboo become the future for the bike building industry as we look for sustainable ways to live? Certainly, in countries like Zambia where the raw material grows so rampantly, it makes perfect sense. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly intrigued to take a spin on a Zambike.
Thanks for Changing lives with Zambikes!!