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Philippine Bamboo Bikes Hit the Trail

Josephine Cuneta, Wall Street Journal
Bike frames have come a long way from steel and aluminum to exotic alloys and carbon fibers. Now, in the Philippines, they’re going all the way back to bamboo.

The “bamboo bike” is turning into the latest hot item for environmentalists here, with its low carbon footprint. Bamboo is also tough and light: Bamboo bike frames weigh about seven to ten pounds.

The bikes are made by KawayanTech (Kawayan is a Filipino term for bamboo), a company whose objectives are to develop “indigenous forms of bikes and other alternative means of transport,” including bamboo bikes and bamboo skateboards as “social entrepreneurship,” according to its mission statement.

It was founded in 2009 by members of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers club, including Hecky Villanueva, an urban anthropologist; dive instructor and resort operator Boy Siojo; visual artist Eng Chan; U.S.-based educator John Climaco; and Eric Cadiz, an electrical engineer who also runs a motorcycle dealership.

…Ms. Villanueva said more than just being a means of transportation, the bamboo bike is also a work of art. Typically, the company sells the frames only, so that bikers can pick out their own components so that each of the bikes can have a custom, personal feel.

Why Are Three Out of Four Cyclists on the Street Men?

Tanya Snyder, DCStreetsBlog
I’ve never thought of myself as a female cyclist. For the last 13 years, I’ve been a bike commuter in DC, and I figured my needs were the same needs as any cyclist. But for the last six months, I’m a biker that doesn’t bike, and that has everything to do with the fact that I’m a woman. So the Women’s Cycling Forum, which kicked off the National Bike Summit yesterday, hit home for me.

After all, I had taken the metro. To the Bike Summit.

Why wasn’t I riding? I just had a baby. So did my partner, but somehow he never had to stop cycling. But then, he didn’t find himself gaining 28 pounds in nine months. Or pushing a baby out his bike-seat anatomy. And since he’s not nursing every three hours, he leaves the house without Luna more often than I do, so he has more cause to bike. At two months, she’s too young for a bike trailer…

And I have to admit, these days when I see cyclists zip by inches from the side of the bus I’m on, it looks incredibly dangerous – far more dangerous than it ever felt when I was behind the handlebars. I know that when I get back on I’ll feel safe and confident again, but if I hadn’t started urban cycling in college, I think I’d look at those daredevil madcap risk-takers on fixies and think it wasn’t for me…

“I don’t think that women are necessarily more afraid [than men],” said Andrea Garland of Alta Planning + Design, “but we are more prone to say we’re afraid of something. I think it’s just not convenient for us.” Indeed, if women had a better idea how to fit two kids and their schoolbags and the groceries on a bike – and saw other women doing the same thing, and knew where to get the gear for it – they might be happy to do it, separated lanes or no separated lanes…
(21 March 2012)

As gasoline prices rise, so does push for bicycle trails

Larry Copeland, USA TODAY
…Now, as many Americans consider bicycles in place of cars in the face of soaring gasoline prices, cyclists and nature lovers are fighting to make sure funds for trails such as this are available. And they’re enjoying a growth in political clout and becoming a viable force in the national conversation on transportation.

During debate over a long-awaited federal transportation funding bill, passed last week by the Senate and pending in the House of Representatives, some members of Congress sought to strip from the bill matching funds for projects such as biking trails and walking paths. Bicyclists and recreation advocates around the nation rallied, writing, calling and e-mailing their senators and representatives.

The funding, which makes up about 1.5% of the total appropriation, remained in the Senate version. Now, cyclists and recreation advocates are working to keep it in the bill being considered in the House…

“People at the local level see the connection between these projects and their health bill, or congestion, or having other choices,” he says. “It’s this connection that folks in Congress who want to do away these programs don’t seem to have made.”
(19 March 2012)