“The best bike is the one that you build yourself.”
— Motto of the Bamboo Bike Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It was “an amazing coincidence,” said the e-mail from John Vandevelde, a friend, cyclist and fellow traveler on our bicycle journey across the United States in the fall of 2009.
“You wrote about bamboo bikes on your blog, which I read with interest as I always do, and the same day my good friend in LA, Jane Matz, sent me an e-mail about her son, Jonathan Matz, an urban planning graduate student at Columbia [University], building a bamboo bike.”
Jane Matz sent to John a series of photos on the bike-building project. John passed them along to me with a note that Jane and Jonathan said I was welcome to use the material in this blog.
Jonathan built the bike, which required 30 hours of labor, at the Bamboo Bike Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn. As I wrote in the Feb. 7 blog post, the Bamboo Bike Studio, where customers fabricate their own bikes with the help of experienced instructors, is providing expertise to help start a locally owned and operated bike-building factory in Kumasi, Ghana.
The Brooklyn studio is working with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and its Bamboo Bike Project. The project was established to provide “safe, reliable and multi-purpose transportation in rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa,” says a Columbia website.
As he was building the bike, Jonathan chronicled the project with 79 photos, which can be viewed as a slide show.