Tough and adaptable, bamboo is a resource that humankind has been utilizing for thousands of years. From shelter to food, the benefits of the bamboo plant are endless. Its hollow structure and dense, thick stem make for excellent building materials that can be used for almost anything. More importantly, bamboo is a renewable resource which makes its use beneficial to our ecosystem.
Bambike, is a Gawad Kalinga company that makes use of bamboo’s strength and versatile nature to create bicycles that are beautiful, sturdy and with a social cause to back it up. The bikes themselves, a combination of bamboo, abaca, and aircraft-grade aluminum are created tough and durable, able to withstand safety tests and natural wear and tear. Not only are they dependable and weather resistant but beautiful in their craftsmanship as well.
Not only do Bambike offer and customize bikes for you but they offer Ecological Tours as well. These tours take you riding around the historical places in Intramuros using one of their bamboo bikes for a fee. If you’d rather go for the artsy approach they also offer a BGC tour wherein you ride around and visit the different art murals scattered around Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
We ask Bryan Benitez McClelland, founder of Bambike to tell us more about the company and what his vision is all about.
Tell us a little about Bambikes?
Bambike is a socio-ecological enterprise based in the Philippines that hand-makes bamboo bicycles with fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices. Our bamboo bike builders (aka Bambuilders) come from Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine based community development organization for the poor, working to bring an end to poverty. We have programs that include scholarships, sponsoring a preschool teacher, and a weekly feeding program for children, as well as a bamboo nursery for reforestation. Bambike is a company that is interested in helping out people and the planet, dedicated to social and environmental stewardship. Our goal is to do better business and to make the greenest bikes on the planet. Bambike Revolution Cycles: People-Planet-Progress.
What got you interested in a bamboo bike business?
My interest in the bamboo bicycle business evolved from my volunteer work with Gawad Kalinga, learning about the ecological benefits of bamboo, the growing popularity in the market for bicycles, the need for sustainable transport, and the need for job creation.
Any plans of making other stuff out of bamboo?
Our focus now is to really improve upon and scale our Bambike designs. We have a new product called the Bambino, which will serve our younger market segment and future Bambike enthusiasts. We also produce Bambowties from bamboo scraps, other merchandise products, and a bit of furniture. Down the line we are looking to have bamboo building materials become more mainstream.
Bambike supports environmental and social awareness programs, what advice would you give people with regards to the environment?
I encourage people to be more aware of the interconnectedness of the environment to society and to business such that they can make more responsible decisions and contribute towards sustainable development.
What is your personal mission/vision?
My personal mission/vision is to build world class bamboo products while creating jobs for people that need them the most.
What makes you hopeful and happy?
It makes me happy that there is now a growing enthusiasm and support for social enterprises, government and private sector support for MSMEs is on the rise, and I see more sustainable business solutions emerging all the time. It makes me hopeful that there is now a pioneering undergraduate degree program in Sustainability at Enderun Colleges, which has been developed to inspire and empower the future leaders of the Philippines.
To learn more about Bambike and see more of their beautiful designs:
Photos property of Bambike