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Bamboo Bicycles Are Driving Change In The Philippines

               
By FedEx | First published: May 17, 2021    Updated: October 27, 2023

Meet the innovative entrepreneur behind Bambike Revolution Cycles and his commitment to sustainable mobility, one bamboo bike at a time.

Bicycles are already one of the most eco-friendly forms of transport out there – but did you know they can also be made from bamboo?

For the Bambike Revolution Cycles founder, Bryan Benitez McClelland, the discovery was lifechanging. Originally from the Philippines, Bryan came across the bikes whilst traveling in Africa in 2007. He immediately realized that this innovation could be developed in his home country, where bamboo is naturally abundant. He went on to build his very first Bambike in 2009.

“Bamboo has inherent qualities that are perfect for cycling. These properties translate into a bike frame that is stiff enough to really crank on and make for a smooth ride.”
Deconstructed bike parts with bamboo components

A revolutionary new way to travel on two wheels

In 2010, Bryan established Bambike Revolution Cycles, a socio-ecological enterprise that sells handmade bamboo bikes and runs environmentally-friendly bike tours in Intramuros, a historic walled city inside Manila. Products range from all-terrain bikes such as the Luntian and Victoria, the sleek, bolt-together Bolt Series and ‘Bambino’ bikes for kids.

The company champion sustainable building practices and fair-trade labor for its ‘Bambuilders’. They use artisans from Gawad Kalinga, a Filipino development organization that aims to end poverty by giving long-term job opportunities to the less fortunate.

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“Our mission is to build the greenest products on the planet while creating jobs for people who need them the most,” he explains. Following a ‘People - Planet – Progress’ philosophy, they aim to bring as many bamboo bikes to as many people as possible across the world.

Pedaling into challenges along the way

For Bryan, getting the start-up off the ground was met with difficulties. One obstacle was finding the right kind of bamboo industry to do the job: a challenge considering he didn’t speak much Filipino.

“I spent many years learning about bamboo resources - and also learning the local language. Seeing the progress that our company has made and its impact on the lives of our employees and beneficiaries is what keeps me motivated.”
Filipino man sits inside a repair studio with a bike

Bryan also believes that Filipino workers have a knack for ingenuity and problem-solving; “Working with Filipinos has been incredibly fulfilling. We find ways to overcome language barriers. There is an abundance of innate talent, great work ethic and creativity to find solutions together."

Turning the wheels of sustainable tourism

Bambike is now setting its sights on cultivating sustainable tourism by educating tourists about cultural heritage and choosing eco-friendly alternatives.

“Sustainable tourism is a way to experience the world but leave minimal negative impact on the places we visit. We also consult with other tourism development projects on best practices, including the three pillars of sustainable tourism: social justice, economic development, and environmental integrity.”

From its headquarters in Intramuros, the company has also rolled out a rental shop in Guimaras province, an idyllic community powered by renewable energy wind turbines.. Setting sights on cross-border opportunities overseas, Bambike has also created a custom bicycle fleet for hotels in Siem Reap, Cambodia so that their guests can explore and sightsee using their own pedal-power.

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Tourist rents bamboo bike from local Filipino man

Cycling full speed ahead into a sustainable future

Bambike is focused on scaling its business and expanding to other markets. Finding the right logistics services provider has been crucial to making this happen.

“FedEx has been a great logistics partner. We know that when we send out products to customers all over the world, we can do so with trust and confidence. FedEx works hard to support small businesses and ensure our customers receive our product safely and as quickly as possible,” Bryan concludes.

Besides supporting Bambike’s shipping needs, we also share the same commitment to sustainability - from sustainable packaging to our ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutral operations globally by 2040.

To discover more sustainable companies whose eco-products are having a positive impact on the environment, head to our Sustainability page here.
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