Innovation That Matters

Low-cost bicycles for (not only) the rural poor

Nonprofit & Social Cause

We’ve written about a few different efforts to help disadvantaged people in Africa by providing refurbished second-hand bikes from the developed world. Unlike such initiatives from Baisikeli and Bikes for Africa, however, Worldbike designs and distributes brand-new bicycles that are inexpensive and built specifically to withstand harsh rural conditions. California-based Worldbike’s bicycles are designed to handle large loads, rough terrain and inclement weather. They’re configured to be not only affordable, but also maintained and repaired locally. Through partnerships with international and local agencies, private companies, foundations and NGOs, Worldbike even helps arrange microcredit financing for bike purchases and supplement sales with support from funders and private donors. Its bikes have already been brought to Cuba, Mexico, Rwanda, Senegal and Thailand, among other areas. However, as the company also 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. A shining example of what our sister site calls the functionall trend, Worldbike has already attracted funding and partnerships with companies and foundations around the world—time to add your brand to that list? Alternatively, how about brainstorming some functionall offerings of your own…? (Related: Single-use toilet bag turns human waste into fertilizerWater bottle’s plunger-style filter purifies instantly.) Spotted by:’s monthly trend briefing



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