Catch a ride: Ghana’s bamboo bikes put sustainable change in the frame

Updated 7:04 AM EST, Fri January 23, 2015

Story highlights

The bamboo bicycle is increasing in popularity across Ghana and Africa

Boomers International is a social enterprise creating bespoke bicycles whilst reducing youth unemployment

The bamboo bicycles are uniquely designed to each customer meaning there is no replica anywhere in the world

The company hope to expand to furniture, household items and houses made of bamboo

Editor’s Note: Every week, African Start-Up follows entrepreneurs in various countries across the continent to see how they are working to make their business dreams become reality.

(CNN) —  

It’s bespoke, beautifully formed, and changing the face of transport in Ghana. The bamboo bicycle is gaining traction in the country and one organization is riding this popularity wave to increase youth employment in the process.

Booomers International is a social enterprise training rural Ghanaian communities in the art of bamboo bicycle manufacture to provide an economic freedom many of them have never experienced.

“We were looking at how we can engage the youth in the right areas into a meaningful venture,” says company founder and CEO Kwabena Danso, who last year launched Booomers as a subsidiary enterprise of a development organization called Yonso project. “[I’ve been] engaging them in the bamboo bicycle business.”

Top gear

Bicycles made from bamboo have been around for more than a century but demand has only increased in recent years, in part due to the reintroduction of the concept by renowned bicycle designer Craig Calfee in 1995. Calfee went on to form Bamboosero, a Californian company dedicated to increasing the uptake of bamboo bicycles, particularly in developing countries, and today a number of companies across Africa are seizing the opportunity to make use of this abundant, natural resource to create a boom in bicycling. It’s tensile strength and environmental sustainability make bamboo a highly desirable material.

02:32 - Source: CNN
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“We do bamboo bicycles, bamboo bicycle stands and bicycle baskets for now,” says Danso and their biking portfolio includes road, city, and mountain bikes in both male and female versions. “Each bike is purely handmade…once you get your bike nobody else in the world has it.”