Every time I almost decide to totally give up on the car and walk and bike as my main form of transportation, I remember grocery shopping. Instantly, the idea of carrying heavy, swinging bags on my handle bars in the rain reminds me my life is just a little too comfortable the way it is. (Wuss 😉 ) In other parts of the world, I’d be lucky to have a choice.
Worldbike is an open-source bike design project helping to design bikes made to haul. With longer tail-ends and a bench-like rack on the back, those with Worldbike designs like the “Big Boda” and “Worldbike” shown here can bring goods to market, or transport the family without costly cars and prohibitively expensive fuel. Thus, bikes become not only convenient forms of transportation, but a method of income generation as well.
I recall being in awe of the bike vendors who carried four foot tall stacks of eggs in crates in Uganda, a Worldbike could probably help those guys sell even more.
Because the shipping costs to bring bikes to many developing areas are high, Worldbike aims to offer bike design rather than bring bikes to its locations. The idea is to make the bike as cheap as possible, locally producable, and locally repairable. Most designs are based on modifying old mountain bike frames, or those most cheaply available through Wal-Mart and seek to improve safety and comfort along with cargo hauling capacity.
Most of Woldbike’s work has taken place in Kenya. Worldbike, along with the XO and a predesessor to the Hippo Roller, was part of the “Design for the Other 90%” exhibit from New York City’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.