In an attempt to combat notoriously poor pollution in and around the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, professor Lance Rake of Kansas University came up with a design for a bamboo e-cargo bike that allows the local population to travel around the city emission-free – and in collaboration with local bamboo builders Abari, the bicycles are now an increasingly common site in the bustling city.
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Professor Rake received funding to develop the freight bicycle in 2019, with the aim of offering an alternative to couriers and even taxi drivers in an effort to significantly reduce fossil fuels around the historic sites of Kathmandu. designboom reports that professor Rake worked with students in Melbourne to develop concepts and design parts and fixtures, before he went to Nepal to contact Nripal Adhikari from Abari together with students from Kathmandu University to build prototypes and the to test the bicycle in the real world.
The Habre Eco Bike has a full bamboo frame and even bamboo suspension, with a powerful electric hub motor ideal for transporting cargo and people. It is modeled on the Danish Christiania cargo bike with a larger rear wheel and two smaller front wheels, using the aluminum used on the Christiania frames for sturdy and vibrant bamboo. Early Habre bicycle prototypes had steel frames mounted with bamboo leaf springs to test for comfort and durability under load.
Abari and Professor Rake, now fully launched and active in the streets of Kathmandu, say that the Habre Eco Bike is well equipped to cover the rough and uneven surfaces of the city. The bike will be made in Kathmandu by highly skilled local artisans and women, and hopefully will help a way to improve air quality on and around the city's world heritage sites.
What do you think of the Habre Eco Bike and would you like to see a similar device adorn the streets of Great Britain? Let us know in the comments!