Worldbike

Mobility for good

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About the project Edit

Founded in 2000, Worldbike is a California organization focused on designing innovative bicycle prototypes to advance development in poor countries. Worldbike designs and distributes low-cost bicycles for programs that increase economic opportunity, improve health outcomes and boost enrollment and gender equity in secondary school among the rural poor. It's centered on the belief that a low-cost, durable and "longtail" bicycle with integrated cargo capacity - a cargo bike - can change the life of someone living in rural poverty by connecting them to markets, schools and clinics.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Worldbike stands out as a truly creative experience for two main reasons. First, it differs itself by the type of bikes it sends to poor countries: innovative and customized. Unlike other initiaves helping disadvantaged people in Africa by providing refurbished second-hand bikes from the developed world, Worldbike designs and distributes brand-new bicycles that are inexpensive and built specifically to withstand harsh rural conditions. Worldbike bikes withstand large loads, rough terrain and inclement weather and are configured to be not only affordable, but also maintained and repaired locally. According to Design for the Other 90%, Worldbike exists as a challenge to the bicycle industry, particularly in the world’s bicycling centers of Taiwan, China, and India, to design bicycles for customers in developing countries. The bike weighs about the same as the inexpensive single-speed bicycles sold throughout East Africa, but is engineered to be comfortable, safe, stylish, with a higher carrying capacity. The Big Boda Load-Carrying Bicycle, developed in Kenya, can carry eight crates of goods, three children or two adult passengers in places where bikes are the main mode of transportation. It has an extended wheel base and a lower center of gravity.

Second, Worldbike stands out for the innovative design of its new bike technologies. Two of the first Worldbike cargo bikes are featured in the Smithsonian National Design Museum «Design for the Other 90%» exhibit as an important innovation for the developing world. The design of the bike is so innovative that as the company notes "the same cargo bike we deliver to rural Africa also turns heads on the streets of Seattle.” An official US version of the bike is now being configured, and proceeds from all purchases will help support bike distribution efforts in Kenya.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

In places where bikes are the main mode of transportation, Worldbike cargo bikes are mean to increase incomes and reduce poverty.Through partnership with international and local agencies, private companies, foundations and NGOs, Worldbike helps arrange microcredit financing for bike purchases and supplement sales with support from funders and private donors.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Since its foundation, Worldbike new technologies have been used in small-scale development programs in Cuba, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and Thailand. If we think of Worldbike as functional design for helping developing countries, many other creative experiences in different field (health, water, ...) can be thought of.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit


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