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Bamboo Bikes Make Epic Journey

Published: 27th April 2018

Written by: James Marr


The strength, durability and endurance of the bamboo bike is being put put to the test in a charity ride across South Africa.

The ride will see TV producer and biologist Emily and company strategist Sam tackle a mammoth 10,000km kilometre trip from the Southern tip of South America to the Caribbean town of Cartagena, Colombia on the Northern tip of the continent.

The journey began in October 2017 on the shores of the Beagle Strait in Tierra del Fuego – the Southernmost tip of the South American mainland and will head up the West coast of the continent, taking in Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador before finishing in Colombia.

The trip aims to raise money for the charity Conservation International, an American based charity that aims to protect nature as both a source of food and livelihoods for the people of Earth and for the sake of the environment.

The ‘Two By Bamboo’ mission is to raise awareness of environmental factors along the route by interviewing key figures in the conservation movement in South America, along with capturing their efforts on film to show the efforts people are going to to protect the environment. This will include local conservation efforts from individuals and organisations along with sustainability gurus educating those around them about the importance of conservation.

It’s not all fun and games though. As if the ride isn’t enough of a challenge for Sam, he will also be endeavoring to research and answer the question ‘how can business protect the environment as a source of sustainable advantage?’ – that is when he’s not recovering in a tent from the efforts of the ride!

The reason bamboo bikes have been chosen for the trip is because they are handmade with completely natural materials, making them a sustainable option for a cycling trip that is looking to put the spotlight on the efforts of conservationists and the importance of living sustainably.

The bikes will have their work cut out for them, having to contend with a route that will cover some of the harshest conditions on the globe – conditions that any bicycle would consider a challenge.

These conditions include the swampy peat bogs of Patagonia which are notoriously difficult to traverse. To try and make this easier the bikes are fitted with mountain bike styres with a large tread to increase the surface area and make it as easy as possible to move across the terrain.

As they move into the Andes and the Bolivian Altiplano, there will be huge mountain passes that climb to more than 4,000m above sea level to contend with. Not an easy feat when riding any machine, but one that will be made easier by the lightweight nature of the bamboo bike which which is much lighter than the standard steel or aluminium bikes that are commonly available.

Once Emily and Sam are over the mountain ranges of the South they will have to contend with the humidity of Peru, a climate which is potential catastrophic for a bicycle which relies on moving parts to be effective. Bamboo bikes don’t rust, which the pair will be thankful for after days of cycling in the heat and humidity – especially if they are caught in a monsoon or tropical downpour when cycling through the rainforests.

After the humidity of Peru they will face the volatile volcanic region of Ecuador, the steep gradients making a return to the trip as the pair travel over terrain that has been forged over millennia of volcanic activity.

Once through Ecuador they move into the home straight as they face cycling through Colombia, over the equator and towards their end goal on the Northern Caribbean coast.

The bikes were created by Emily and Sam – with a little help from us of course – and are custom made to their own unique geometry, making each one perfectly comfortable for long rides.

This is crucial as comfort is a massive part of endurance cycling, and building a bamboo bike from scratch which fits your geometry will allow you to always ride in comfort through rain or shine.

To follow the ‘Two By Bamboo’ journey or learn more about their cause then visit their website, where you can also donate to Conservation International, at http://www.twobybamboo.com.