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Customized fixies may be all the rage in urban America nowadays, but even the simplest, cheapest bike is a rare sight in rural Africa. Fortunately, the bamboo from which to craft bikes grows on trees – or rather in groves. However, the labor and money to manufacture bicycles does not. That is where Zambikes comes in. In partnership with the non-profit Akerfa, this Zambian bike manufacturer sells hand-crafted bamboo bikes to the West and invests the profits back into its community.
Zambikes’ profits go toward making affordable bicycles to overcome local transportation problems. Although ordinary looking, the value of each bicycle cannot be understated. Zambikes has employed nearly 40 locals and trained them in management, bike assembly, fabrication, and construction.
More significantly, thousands of lives have been improved and even saved due to their bike products. Their Zambulance (bicycle ambulance trailer) and Zamcart (cargo trailer) have raised the bar for transportation solutions in rural areas where the sick or wounded are often brought to hospitals by wheelbarrow or ox-cart.
Distributing hundreds of ambulance trailers each year, Zambikes estimates that it saved 50,000 lives in 2010 alone.
Check out the original article on Inhabitat here.