Monday, February 22, 2010

Making Change - Action Center & WorldBike

bikes for allk

Bikes that Haul People

In East Africa, there is a population of small business entrepreneurs known as "Boda Boda" operators who use bicycles as taxis. Most start their business by purchasing a standard bike and retrofitting it with a locally manufactured seat post and special seat cushion to accommodate passengers in back.
Most locally available parts for Boda Boda bike modifications can cost a premium of 15-20% over the base cost of the bicycle and usually lead to poor ergonomics and reduced power output. The knees of taller riders can hit the handlebars, and some operators experience cycling-related impotence, which is rarely discussed.

With support from Lemelson Foundation, Worldbike set out to determine if there were a better way to improve carrying capacity for Boda Boda drivers. In partnership with a group of local metal fabricators and bike enthusiasts, Worldbike's team designed and produced a low-cost cargo extension that easily bolted on to the bike's rear drop out, increasing carrying capacity, handling and stability.
Worldbike's big boda cargo extension works best for the transportation of bulky, lightweight cargo. In this project, it proved particularly popular for the transport of bread, cut flowers, school children and medical supplies. Specifically, it was found to increase cargo capacity by 20-40%, reducing costs and increasing incomes for Boda Boda operators.

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