Bicycles made from bamboo have gone on sale in Australia, billed as light, strong and changing lives through a positive impact on people and the planet.
The bikes are made by Wyld Bikes (short for What You Love Doing) from bamboo sustainably sourced in Ghana in partnership with Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative (GBBI) which empowers the local community by generating employment, training and opportunity with a key focus on women in the workplace.
They are then assembled in Australia in partnership with a number of social enterprises which provide training, skills development, employment, career pathways and ongoing mentoring programs to disadvantaged and unemployed youth.
For every Wyld Bike frame produced, 10 bamboo seedlings are planted in its place.
“We do this, not for re-harvesting purposes but rather to help stop the erosion of fertile land in West Africa which is a key factor to the eradication of local food supply and income source,” says Natalie Simmons, co-founder and COO at Wyld Bikes.
“The creation of each Wyld Bike helps to lift women in Ghana out of poverty, supports career pathways for disadvantaged Australian young people – developing their confidence, skills and opportunities for fulfilling work – and helps stop the erosion of fertile land in West Africa,” she says.
To further leave a positive impact on the environment, the shipping of Wyld Bikes from Ghana and within Australia is all carbon offset.
There are six models in the standard Wyld Bikes range with a men’s frame called Archi, and a women’s frame called Luca. They come with tan, black or white trims and with three gearing options: a 9 speed at A$2000, 10 speed at $2050, and 11 speed at $2100.
The flexibility of bamboo
Bamboo is one of the world’s most highly sustainable plants, growing to full size in as little as three months. It is also strong, yet flexible – construction companies in Hong Kong routinely use it to create scaffolding in place of heavier metal frames.
When it comes to bicycles made from bamboo, it is not just the frames where it plays a role. A New Zealand company Passchier has designed laminated bamboo bicycle handlebars, branded Gump (after Forrest Gump, the movie character who kept running and running), which reduce the pressure and vibration on a rider’s hands, arms and upper body – something like a natural version of a shock absorber. Considerably more flexible than steel by nature, bamboo absorbs some of the impacts of bumps and undulations where cyclists ride. They have been tested by outdoor enthusiasts in a variety of conditions.
A carbon fibre sleeve links the bamboo handlebar to the bike frame. They come in two sizes and sell for around US$250.
Meanwhile, Wyld is working on developing more bicycles made from bamboo. An off-road BMX version dubbed Wil is due for release early next year.
“We’ve had road bikes, mountain bikes, racing bikes, hybrid bikes, but now, with the addition of Wyld Bikes, we have added sustainable bikes to the mix,” says Simmons.
“We all know that cycling is good for your health and reduces your carbon footprint if you are riding instead of driving a car, but with a sustainable bamboo Wyld Bike, you are actually creating a positive impact on people and the planet.
“Imagine riding your bike to work knowing you have already made a positive impact in the world before you have even arrived at your desk.” Wyld Bikes is owned by Barefoot Citizens, which describes itself as a global community of passionate people united by a shared commitment to creating a sustainable future for all people and the planet” while delivering bottom-line results to investors and shareholders.