Cariloha, retailer of bamboo clothing, bedding and bath goods, is partnering with the Bamboo Bike Project to bring bicycles made of bamboo to local Ghanaians.
SANDY, UTAH – From fishing poles and bed sheets to surf boards and scaffolding, bamboo is now sprouting toward being more than just a food source for pandas, but a sturdy mode of transportation for needy villagers in Africa. Seeing a fitting opportunity to help out and to get bamboo rolling even farther across the globe, Cariloha joined forces with the Bamboo Bike Project earlier this spring.
Because bamboo is considered the fastest-growing plant in the world, it can be cut down, used, grown back and reused again without pesticides and at virtually no risk to the environment. And, because bamboo can be made into almost anything, Cariloha, working with a team of researchers from Columbia University, is creating bikes built from bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa.
According to Columbia University researchers, bamboo bikes handle rougher terrain over longer periods of time than other imported bicycles, and building them domestically could serve as a boost to African-based industries, replacing lower-quality imports. Bamboo is a plentiful, local resource in several African countries, including Ghana, where much of the Bamboo Bike Project first began.
“We’ve determined that it’s possible to source the materials and supplies necessary to build bamboo bicycles in Africa and to train the local people to build the bikes,” said John Mutter, Columbia University earth and environmental sciences professor. “A finished bike weighs just half as much as a standard steel bike, an advantage for carrying heavy loads on rough roads, and Ghanaians who have tested the models say they like the look, its durability and ride.” The process for building the bikes is nearly as sustainable as the bamboo itself.
“We believe that everyone who wears and uses bamboo goods is intrinsically giving back in some small way to a more earth-friendly world,” said Aaron Hobson, Cariloha Executive VP of Marketing. “At Cariloha, we hope that contributing to the Bamboo Bike Project will turn our small step into thousands of pedaled steps throughout Africa.”
Bamboo Bike Project Goals
1. To build a better bike by Africans for Africans in Africa.
2. To stimulate a bicycle building industry and bike building training in Africa to satisfy local needs.
3. To scale the effort so that it makes an impact. Currently the Project’s bamboo bikes are in development in Ghana. The Bamboo Bike Project is working to expand to a second factory in Kenya.
How Individuals Can Help
Cariloha, and the Bamboo Bike Project, are striving to satisfy the needs in Africa and beyond, beginning with hitting the goal of 20,000 bikes produced per year. Individuals can buy a bike for someone in need at any time; $50 buys a bike. To make a tax deductible financial contribution, interested individuals can visit www.bamboobike.org/Donate to make a donation.
Established in 2007, Cariloha is the only retailer in the world to provide an entire store experience that’s completely outfit with merchandise made of bamboo. The product line features an exclusive collection of apparel, accessories, home décor, bedding and bath goods and more all made from bamboo. Cariloha’s soft, breezy bamboo goods were first seen out of three, full stores in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and St. Thomas, USVI. Since the first three stores in 2008, Cariloha has already opened stores in nine countries and growing. Cariloha has quickly become one of the fastest-growing merchants promoted on board Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Today, thanks to an ever-growing, rich supply of bamboo, Cariloha continues to offer an exclusive collection of apparel, accessories, home décor, bed and bath sets and more all enjoying the strength, soft touch, and green ‘footprint’ of this renewable resource.
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