In the bamboo and biking subculture everyone knows frames made out of bamboo nowadays. Nearly every continent has its own manufacturers and tiny niche markets with some more or less wealthy or freaked-out bamboo-bike-enthusiasts.
Since my own PhD project deals with laminated materials out of African and Brazilian bamboo species, it was exciting to see the first (known) bike which was made out of a bamboo composite. BME Design, a innovative and experimental frame producer from Bratislava, Slovakia, presented the experimental frame on the NAHBS 2014 in Charlotte, NC, USA.
BME already showed up with the first full MTB frame out of bamboo and called attention to several alternative custom frames. I am really excited to get to know more about the technique they are using. Is it laminated veneers? Fibre bundles? How does it work bamboo girls & boys?!?
See more here and here!
Since my last stay in Ethiopia, working out my master thesis in cooperation with African Bamboo PLC, some interesting developments came up. The company has been in a financially constrained situation and due to some quite unpopular decisions a year ago, the team was totally restructured. In this time, I contributed a tiny part to a fundraising project executed by my dear (ex-)colleagues Mr. Weber and Mr. Hamperl. The project's objective to get AB awarded for a USAid support was now finally achieved. They won the 'Powering Agriculture Grand Challenge' funded by USaid, German Federal Ministry BMZ and other international partners. This means a massive financial boost for the company, so that a restart may get possible. A delegation visited the facilities in Addis and everything seems to get back on a better track.
However, I hope this is not only a lot of money on a burning bamboo pile, but the beginning of a fresh and productive period with AB as a pioneer in Ethiopia. Further information may be found here. Good luck everyone!
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