Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bamboo bikes - part two

Here are a few days old photos of the actual bamboo bikes here in Accra. Notic that it is quite different from the racing bike pictured in the previous post. Take a peek.

Bamboo Bike Project photos.

SJD, Chris and I met Mr. Ho, Muter and Calfee for pizza and beer the night before their demonstration to learn more about their research and offer any ideas or assistance. There is always room for another bike at the D-P household. :-)

We all rode the bike around Osu a few minutes. It really is an impressively simple design, but tough and rides very much like a normal bike.

Sorry for all the "bike" posts lately.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ghana, bamboo and bikes.

The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Dan, from home forwarded it to me.

Bamboo bike quite the offshoot

By J. Michael Kennedy, Times Staff Writer June 18, 2007

Funny where an idea will take you. Ten years ago, Luna the dog — part pit bull and part Labrador retriever — was gnawing on a piece of bamboo growing behind Craig Calfee's bicycle shop outside Santa Cruz.On Sunday, Calfee was due to arrive in the West African nation of Ghana, intent on making bamboo bikes for the desperately poor. Chew toy to bicycle. Whimsy to good deed. Santa Cruz to Ghana.
More of the article here.

The Calfee bamboo bike image here.

So, SJD and I will likely meet Mr. Calfee and his group tomorrow afternoon to chat about Ghana, bamboo and bikes.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cycling competition to mark Republic Day

There is some speculation whether or not the Ghana contingent of the DCMTB/City-Bikes squad remembers how to go fast and hold a line enough to participate, but the invitation has been extended anyways. - BEP

Cross posted from

Cycling competition to mark Republic Day

Accra, June 19, GNA - About 78 cyclists drawn from nine Clubs in the Greater Accra Region and neighbouring countries, Cote D'Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso will compete for honours in a cycling championship race on July 1, as part of activities marking Ghana's Republic Day Anniversary.The competition under the sponsorship of Bahmed Travel and Tours with a sponsored of over 50 millions cedis which is tagged "Bahmed Challenge Cup" will cover a 115 kilometre criterion race. The race according to the organisers will commence at the Osu Mobile Filling station and take cyclists through Jokers Night Club, Labadi with the Independence Square as the termination point. Among the participating Clubs are All Stars, Dome Cycling Club, Quick Step, Nippon, City Migro, Fire Bunch, Gutten Cycling Club, Young Stars and River Park.Briefing the press in Accra On Tuesday, Mr Albert Oku, Executive Member of the Greater Accra Cycling Association (GACA) said the championship is part of their effort to revive the sport in the Region and the country as a whole.Mr Oku said cyclists competing in the All Africa Games will also use the opportunity to prepare for the pan African event. The Executive Member said 18 cyclists from Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote D'Ivoire have confirmed their participation in the event with the rest of the majority cyclists drawn from nine Clubs in the Region to sum up the list of participants.Mr Oku expressed the hope that the competition will be the first step in bringing the sport out of the doldrums and create more participation from the public.Alhaji Ahmed Bandoh, Chief Executive Officer of Bahmed Travel and Tours called on stakeholders to make cycling a national sport by encouraging the youth to take up cycling. He said his organisation hopes to encourage mass participation in the sport since the sport has been identified as a leisure sport and is an easy and cheap means of transportation in the country. The competition will see the winner pocketing four million cedis and a racing bike, with the first runner up taking home three million cedis and a 24-inch colour television, whilst the second runner up will receive 2.5 million cedis and a 24 inch colour television.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

On the road

The natural scenery driving from Mole to Nkwanta via Yendi gets a tad monotonous after the 100th mile on a dirt road through the flat scrub but luckily the people along the way keep things interesting. We were amazed, amused, and periodically alarmed at the views out the window.

As you get farther north in Ghana, bikes seem to be the equivalent of the family car. We often saw Mom, Dad and a child or two on a single bike.

The young boy above was picking up odd jobs at Mole with his sister in the basket... The elegantly clad ladies on the backs of the bikes seem to magically stay clean. We think they were headed to church.

Above - a dapper looking fellow with his big load and a woman who can't manage to stay on the bike but at least she gets to roll the load instead of the usual head-carry method.
Tro-tros and cargo trucks are loaded seemingly beyond the point of no return. Here are a few
we managed to catch through the front window...

Oddly, it's the one that looks most roadworthy that was upended on the side of the road. As we approached, we had a sick feeling that we were going to see a bloody scene but there seemed to be no evidence of injury or panic. Our guess is that the bus may have had a minor mishap (e.g., drove into the ditch) and the "helpful" crowd that always materializes in Ghana most likely caused the somersault as they tried to rock it out... Maybe the bus was swerving around some cows who frequently cross all manner of roads -- dirt tracks and highways alike.

Of course, the old stand-by head-carry is always an option.

It's a little sad to see such little ones carrying heavy loads, even if they do manage a welcoming smile as we pass. At least the bath looks like fun -- until the thought of waterborne disease comes to mind.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Farewell Sarah (and Steve)

What fun it has been dodging tro-tros and potholes in Accra, wandering wearily in the bush, relaxing in the pool or sipping a cold (if we were lucky) Star at the local spot bar.

We'll miss the two of you.

Cheers and good on ya!