In an effort to fight pollution in and around the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, Professor Lance Rake of Kansas University came up with a design for a bamboo e-cargo bike that would allow locals to get around the city emission free - and in collaboration with local bamboo builders Abari, the bikes are now an increasingly common site around the bustling city.
Professor Rake was awarded funding to develop the cargo bike in 2019, with the aim of providing an alternative for couriers and even taxi drivers in an effort to greatly reduce fossil fuels around Kathmandu's historic sites. designboom reports that Professor Rake worked with students in Melbourne to develop concepts and design the parts and fixtures, before heading to Nepal to liaise with Nripal Adhikari of Abari along with Kathmandu University students to build prototypes and test the bike in the real world.
The Habre Eco Bike has a full bamboo frame and even bamboo suspension, with a powerful electric hub motor ideal for carrying cargo and humans alike. It's modelled on the Danish Christiania cargo bike with one larger rear wheel and two smaller front wheels, swapping out the aluminium used on the Christiania frames for sturdy and lively bamboo. Early prototypes of the Habre bike had steel frames, with bamboo leaf springs fitted to test for comfort and durability under load.
Now fully launched and operating on the streets of Kathmandu, Abari and Professor Rake say the Habre Eco Bike is well equipped to take on the rough and uneven surfaces around the city. The bike will continue to be made in Kathmandu by highly skilled local craftsmen and women, and will hopefully go some way towards improving the air quality in and around the city's World Heritage sites.
What do you think of the Habre Eco Bike, and would you like to see a similar contraption grace the streets of Britain? Let us know in the comments!