Pedal Forward is on a Journey to Revolutionize Sustainable Transportation
In November of 2011, a unique perspective on sustainable transportation led to a collaboration between friends and classmates: Bicycles could be made from bamboo, and they could provide basic, sustainable transportation around the world. The following month, the collaboration took the form of a commitment to action and was submitted for acceptance into the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). In January, we were accepted. In February, we were showcased. And in March, we were voted as the winner of the 2012 CGI U Commitment Bracket.
We even got to meet Jon Stewart!
And he gave us a pretty awesome shout-out.
While transitioning in 2013, we raised funds and donated 35 bicycles to orphaned secondary students in Tanzania. Co-founder Matt delivered these bicycles first-hand and witnessed how they enabled students with better access to education, water and healthcare.
Pedal Forward bicycles around the world enable just that: better access to (insert noun here).
At home and abroad, too many people are stuck in a rut without access to affordable, reliable and sustainable means to move from A to B. In urban environments, the line from A to B is often clouded from carbon emissions and gridlock. (A car’s carbon footprint is 271 g/km; a bamboo bicycle’s is less than 21 g/km) Pedal Forward manufactures and sells bamboo bicycles that get people from A to B in a way that is both sustainable and socially responsible. For each bamboo bicycle sold in the U.S., a portion of proceeds helps provide bicycles to the Global South through our partner organizations, and each bicycle in these areas directly impacts five individuals.
Our long-term goal is to shift gears from our current philanthropic model and leverage bamboo’s availability by producing our bicycles in the developing communities where bicycles are needed most. We will be providing both an economic boost to these communities with the introduction of an entirely new industry, as well as access to affordable transportation. We will develop and implement bamboo bicycle manufacturing facilities in the Global South, eventually turning each facility over to be managed and employed by members of the local population. Each facility will act as a sustainable economic driver for the population at large, while those who purchase bicycles in their community receive the many benefits of bicycle ownership. We will continue to reinvest a portion of our profits to underwrite the cost of bicycles sold in the developing market to help maintain lower costs.
By purchasing a Pedal Forward bicycle, you enable yourself and others all around the world.
From collaboration, to commitment, to creation; our journey continues, and we want you to be a part of it.
The Bamboo Bicycle
The first question always asked is: Can you actually build a bicycle out of bamboo?
Of course you can! Bamboo has superior material properties. It is lightweight, comparable to aluminum. It also has a higher tensile strength than steel and has four-times the shock absorbency of carbon fiber. Bamboo provides the best of these materials into a simple mode of transportation; a lightweight, aluminum bicycle that rides as stiff as a steel bicycle, and is more shock absorbent than a carbon fiber bicycle. Bamboo is also much less expensive than these three materials, leading to its moderate cost for a handcrafted product. A Pedal Forward bicycle costs $500, four-times lower the cost than bamboo bicycles currently on the market.
Evolution of Our Bamboo Bicycle
How We Build Your Bamboo Bike
Fulfillment of Your Order
Each Pedal Forward bicycle is unique to its owner and has been meticulously crafted here in the United States. We have partnered with Back on My Feet NYC for a job training partnership. Back on My Feet (BoMF) is a national, for-purpose 501(c)3 organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change that results in employment and independent living. Through this collaboration, Residential Members in the Next Steps phase of Back on My Feet NYC’s program will learn valuable manufacturing skills while building Pedal Forward’s sustainable and socially responsible bicycles. More information on Back on My Feet can be found here.
Why we need you
Through our journey over the past few years, we have learned quite a lot. From what we hope to accomplish in ten years to what we need to do tomorrow in order to succeed, we have solidified a foundation to build upon the future of Pedal Forward.
For a while our 'next step' was to finish a product that will exceed expectations within our parameters for manufacturing costs, so as to sell at our desired price.
We have done just so with our latest Pedal Forward bamboo bicycle. It is ready to produce, and we are excited to share it with everyone.
To do so, we need your help. Reaching our goal will give us the funds to:
1) Bulk order bicycle components from our supplier
2) Set up our manufacturing shop in New York City
Help us bring manufacturing back home, pat yourself on the back for helping the planet and a fellow human, and pedal forward on your new bamboo bicycle.
Our TEDx Talk
Risks and challenges
Reliable Supply Chain
We have been in the R&D process of our latest model for the past year and are now in the final stage of refining our prototype for market, as only basic bicycle aesthetics (colors, logo placement, etc.) decisions remain. We have established a great working relationship with our bamboo supplier in Vietnam, who have consistently delivered to our exact specifications. However, inconsistent supply orders, specifically bamboo, have stunted our development progress in the past. Our material suppliers (bamboo & bicycle components) and manufacturing operations have been established and tested, but we have yet to see how our suppliers will react when bulk orders begin. We must ensure we can deliver a consistent, immaculate product in a precise amount of time.
As with any manufacturing of a tangible good, quality control is essential. Our final prototype has been designed and tested to withstand the daily rigors of bicycle riding, but this is not to say that there couldn’t be inconsistencies with either the components or manufacturing process.
We inspect every component prior to manufacturing, as well as after, and properly educate every employee of Pedal Forward so they can consistently manufacture a bicycle that functions correctly and safely. Pedal Forward is covered by ISU Liability Insurance, and we provide two year warranties on our bamboo frames.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)