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Bamboo bicycles and trade-not-aid

We are huge supporters of social enterprise businesses and the generally philosophy of trade-not-aid.

At Bamboo Bike Studio in Brooklyn, you can build your own bamboo bicycles in one weekend through the company’s guided workshops. Bamboo is “a renewable and performance-positive material growing right in our backyard,” according to Bamboo Bike Studio’s website, and it’s stronger, lighter and easier to work with than steel.

Even better, all proceeds directly support Bamboo Bike Studio’s collaboration with the Columbia University Earth Institute-based Bamboo Bike Project and the Millennium Cities Initiative to finance the bamboo bike factories in developing countries in Africa and South America.

In a similar vein, California-based studio Calfee Design is helping entrepreneurs in the developing world make locally sourced bamboo bicycles for domestic and international sale.

Through an initiative called Bamboosero, Calfee Design has set up two bike-building groups in Ghana to build frames for several bike designs using locally sourced bamboo. The groups ship those frames back to Calfee Design, where the US team adds wheels and hardware before sending them on to distributors. The Ghanaian builders earn about USD 150 for every frame they build, while the finished bikes are sold for about USD 950 each, according to an article on

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