News / Economy

Philippines Bicycle Company Says Its Products Protect Environment

Philippines Bicycle Company Says Its Products Protect Environmenti
X
September 03, 2013 1:54 PM
Can bicycles help the Philippines reduce poverty and protect the environment at the same time? A social entrepreneur there says his line of high-end bicycles made of locally grown bamboo can do just that. From Manila, reporter Jason Strother tells us more about the company called Bambikes.
Jason Strother
Can bicycles help the Philippines reduce poverty and protect the environment at the same time? A social entrepreneur who owns a company called Bambikes says his line of high-end bicycles made of locally grown bamboo can do just that.
 
Bryan Benitez McClelland is passionate about bicycles. Like many others who head out onto the streets of Makati City, the 29-year old Filipino-American rides a bike. But his is made of bamboo.   
 
“So bamboo is a pretty incredible material. In the plant kingdom it grows really rapidly and absorbs tons of carbon dioxide. From that perspective, it’s a very renewable resource. And then in the performance level, its got the characteristics of naturally vibration dampening pole structures, which really absorb the road chatter and road buzz and makes for a super smooth ride,” he said.
 
In 2010, McClelland founded Bambikes, a company that turns locally sourced bamboo into bike frames. The Bambikes workshop is located in the countryside, in the town of Victoria, 130 kilometers from Metro Manila.

Bamboo bicycles

Out here, the bamboo is harvested from farms and the wild. Bambike’s workers cut, treat and process the material into specialized bike frames.   
 
The finished products are not cheap. They start at around $1,200. McClelland said much of the profit, however, goes back into this poor community.  
 
“We can produce world-class certified bamboo bicycles for the global market while keeping jobs at home in the rural provincial areas so that the workers can stay with their families and have gainful employment,” he said.

Many of the municipality’s 60,000 inhabitants work in rice farming, but that is not a year-round job.
 
McClelland and Victoria’s mayor, Candido Guiam, see mutual benefits in working together. Already, some of Victoria’s farmers are planting bamboo propagules, or seedlings.   
 
“So this is an alternative program where we can provide people with work. They plant, they cut, they produce propagules of bamboo, we pay them 15 pesos, that’s good enough for them," said Guiam. "The good thing is after producing the propagules of bamboo, they bring them back to their own backyard. And hopefully in three years they can cut it up and make money out of it.”

Green material

McClelland visits one of the bamboo nurseries the town supports. He said that in just a couple years this plant will be strong enough to be harvested.
 
“Bamboo is arguably the greenest building material on Earth. Bamboo is as strong as steel if you use the right species. Its very durable, very strong and can stand up to the demands needed by a bicycle frame,” he said.

McClelland said bamboo can be used to build a lot more than just bike frames. He hopes Bambikes is just the start of a bamboo revolution in the Philippines.

Producer Malte Kollenberg also contributed to this story.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
September 04, 2013 2:17 AM
It is a good idea to make bicycles from bamboo. They must be light enogh to speed up easily. I do would love to buy and ride on it when they are available in Japan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.