Bamboobee Is Making Biking Joyful
Bamboobee founder Sunny Chuah hopes his bamboo bicycles can benefit people and planet while turning a profit.
A bicycle that's made of eco-friendly, shock-absorbent bamboo, gives livelihoods to needy communities in China, and brings joy to riders. That's the idea that came to Bamboobee founder, Singaporean Sunny Chuah, while he was on 9-month solo cycling expedition.
“I knew that Bamboobee was going to be my life mission after my experiences on the Circle of life journey. From the highest snow covered mountain passes of Central Asia to the scorching deserts of China, my first self-crafted bamboo bicycle carried me through the toughest terrains in the world for 3,792 miles (6,103km),” Sunny Chuah says on his Kickstarter page, which helped him raise over $65,000 for his social enterprise.
“The faces of countless villagers and curious children shared my joy, nodding their heads as they learned about the science behind the bamboo. With my engineering training, I knew I could convey the beauty and mindful freedom that comes with a sustainable mode of transport,” he says.
Bamboobee is ISO certified, donates 1% of its profits to environmental causes, has won the prestigious IF Design Award and was voted one of BBC's Top 10 Most Beautiful Bikes of 2015.. Their bicycles are made almost three quarters bamboo and retails for around SGD$1000 (approx US$750). The bikes can be bought fully formed, or you can make them yourself. Want to try out a Bamboobee yourself? The bikes are available at Car Free Sunday, a six-month-pilot occuring on the last Sunday of each month, at Connaught Drive. Organised by URA to promote a car-free Singapore, the event features a range of Bamboobee bikes proudly sponsored by DBS, and available to public at no cost.
Here, founder Sunny Chuah tells us more:
Bamboobee was born after a 9-month solo cycling expedition across Central Asia and back to Singapore on a self-made bamboo bicycle‘ – whoa! Tell us about that trip and how did the bike hold up.
It was to satisfy the adventure thirst of the teenager in me. This trip connect the dots of my three passions: bikes, adventure & entrepreneurship. The bike held up well and needed tune ups here and there like any other bike.
What is the social mission?
To empower villagers (in China, where Bamboobee is made by hand, not in a factory) to build the products with a renewable material.
What’s the riding experience difference between a bamboo bike and an ordinary one?
The best compliment I have received so far is that it is like gliding along the air. How so? The fibres within each bamboo absorb the vibration.
We know bamboo is eco-friendly how in your opinion does bamboo make for a better riding experience?
Functional Experience: It provides a very smooth bike riding experience
Form Experience: Each bike design is unique... Bikes built by bamboo are different as each tube is never the same. This is the uniqueness of handcrafted products. A lousy comparison: My grandmom would cook a different taste of chicken rice compared to my mama even both of them have the same world's best chicken rice's recipe.
In a sentence, why should Singaporeans buy a bamboobee bike?
Riding a Bamboobee bike shows you are a builder, nature lover, and an awesome person who walks the talk.
How has the cycling community in Singapore received bamboobee?
Our customers commented that when they have guests, they talk about the bike like it is a piece of art.
What do you love about your bamboo bike
That it's uniquely mine.
Proudly sponsored by DBS, Bamboobee's bicycles are available to public free of charge at Car-Free Sunday Singapore, a URA initiative that happens on the last Sunday of every month until July. Find out more about bamboobee on www.bamboobee.com.sg
Interested in socially conscious living in Asia? Check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.
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