US President Barack Obama has one, and so does New Zealand Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jeremiah "Jerry" Mateparae. It's President Benigno Aquino III's gift of choice to heads of state: the "Bambike", a bicycle made almost entirely from locally-sourced bamboo.
Bambikes are handmade by “Bambuilders” (Bambike bamboo builders) living in Gawad Kalinga Village located in Victoria town in Tarlac, according to a television report on GMA News TV’s “News To Go.”
The Bambuilders handpick the bamboos, which are harvested from the mountains. Bambikes use three types of bamboo: bayog, tinik, and buho.
The intricate process of converting bamboo into bikes usually takes months, the television report said.
In an interview with Howie Severino, Bambike founder Bryan Benitez McClelland explained that the concept of bamboo bikes originated from Africa.
“’Yung studies ko in the US was about sustainable development at environmental resource management. So, through my studies, I learned about some project in Africa na bamboo bike din. So feeling ko, kaya sa Pilipinas,” said the Filipino-American who has been living in the country for five years.
McClelland noted that Bambikes are as light as alloy-made bikes adding that Bambikes has passed European Standards.
“Ang tibay-tibay ng kawayan dito sa Pilipinas. Some of the strongest bamboo in Asia is here in the Philippines. Certified ito sa European Standards so tested na sa mga hydraulic equipment, impact, durability, [and] fatigue testing, pasado lahat,” he said.
There are three types of Bambikes: mountain bike, beach cruiser and road bike.
For accessories, the Bambikes founder said that they also provide “locally, handmade helmet” called B-hat to match the bamboo bicycle.
Aside from sustainable transportation, McClelland noted that the project also provides livelihood development for the Bambuilders with a fashion component.
To make sure that all parts of the bamboo were utilized, the GK Village women used the bamboo scraps to make bowties, which they called Bambowtie.
“We utilize the extra parts of bamboo para walang sayang,” McClelland said.
“Proud na proud po kami sa trabaho namin kasi gawang Pilipinas talaga and bamboo bike,” Bambuilder Fred Yusi was quoted as saying in the television report.
“Simula nung makapasok siya dyan, dun na kami simulang makapundar ng gamit,” Yusi’s wife noted.
For more information, you can visit http://bambike.com/ — TJD, GMA News