Two Danes hope to bring bicycle culture to Africa to tackle poverty and improve lives.
Baisikeli founders Henrik Smedegaard Mortensen and Niels Bonefeld (left and right) stand with their custom bicycle – built to withstand the harsh African climate – outside the new Baisikeli café and workshop by Dybøllsbro station (Photo: Peter Stanners)
Do you take the car, train or bicycle to work? We have so many options of getting from A to B that it’s hard to imagine that for many people walking is the only real option. And our own two legs can only take us so far. In Africa, this is the reality for millions of people and, as a result, their ability to access health care, education and employment is severely limited, trapping them in cycles of poverty and ill health.
But Danish bicycle company Baisikeli – Swahili for bicycle – is hoping to change that. This October they are setting up a workshop in Mozambique to sell and repair second-hand Danish bicycles, as well as manufacture bicycles for the global market. They are a business – unsupported by the government or charities – that has already sent thousands of bicycles to the continent to help foster social change by creating a sustainable bicycle culture in Africa. Continue reading →
Entrepreneurs are discovering markets for the iconic Danish cargo bikes in the US and UK, though their cost and eccentricity factor are hard to overcome
American Will Kearnis, seen with his three-year-old son Kristian, was so taken by Christiania Bikes that he began exporting them to the US (Photo: Peter Stanners)
Cities across the world are looking to Copenhagen for inspiration on how to get their inhabitants out of cars and onto bikes – so much so that a new term has been coined for the trend, ‘Copenhagenisation’.
But even in cities that actively encourage cycling, the prevalence of self-powered transport is still mostly limited to the conventional two-wheeled variety. Cargo bikes, such as the Christiania, Trio or Nihola, are still a rarity outside Copenhagen despite offering a practical and relatively cheap alternative to a car for transporting people and cargo.
One American entrepreneur hopes to change that, however. Through his distribution company Boxcycles, Will Kearins has been selling the iconic Christiania bicycles in the United States for a year now, where they can be found in about 20 specialist bike stores across the country. Continue reading →