Bamboo transporter

The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative is a company that produces (sustainable) locally made bamboo bicycles for mainly western markets. They were looking for new market opportunities within Ghana to increase job opportunities for the local under- and unemployed with their products.

After extensive qualitative research with many stakeholders, our project team identified the reliance on traders as a large opportunity to increase the income of farming families in rural Ghana. The bargaining power of farmers is low due to their dependence on traders for the transportation of their crops. Therefore the goal that was decided on was to design a bicycle solution that would enable better trade options by decreasing or eliminating the farmers reliance on traders. The final product, the Bamboo Transporter, is a bicycle extension kit made of bamboo, that enables farmers to carry more cargo using their already owned bicycles.

The Bamboo Transporter transforms the most common bicycle model in Ghana into a larger more robust cargo bicycle. It enables farmers that already own regular bicycles to carry a lot more weight with a relative small investment. The cargo bicycle can be used to transport crops to market and thus decreases current transport costs. But it’s not limited to that, as for example also two children can be carried to school on the rack.

The kit is made with bamboo (that is harvested from local communities) in combination with sisal rope. Both materials are plants that grow in Ghana. Part of the rack is semi-permanently attached so that it can be customized according to farmer’s needs and specifications.

The project was executed with two fellow MSc students. Though I was involved with all aspects of the project, I was mainly responsible for the initial phase, where I was also appointed team lead. My focus was on identifying and translating the needs of the target group that we found during field research into product ideas.