Farmers see it as a nuisance to be cleared from their land. Construction workers use it to prop up buildings under construction. But Kwabena Danso thinks bamboo is worth more than that.
On a recent historic visit to Ghana, His Royal Majesty, Prince Charles commended Booomers for their impressive environmentally friendly products. The Prince of Wales visited Ghana on the 2nd of November, 2018 as part of an official visit to West Africa. The Prince, who has been a long standing advocate for environmental sustainability, was full of admiration for the Booomers bamboo bikes and remarked, “I have heard so much about these bikes and am happy to finally see them. I am going to buy one.”
“We’re looking to do start a new trend on the Island,” says Eric Bushell, the bike shop owner. “My brother [who co-owns the shop] was very skeptic about it, but I really wanted one, so here we are.”
“Bamboo bikes are starting to get a lot of attention on the international scene,” notes Danso, the chief executive officer of Booomers International, a two-year-old, bamboo-bike-building subsidiary of the Yonso Project, a grassroots community-development organisation in Ghana.
“Actually my own experience in the rural community of Petepom near Bogoso is a testimony to this. At a point, I had no interest in going to school and I nearly dropped out of school”, the CEO said.
When I first heard that The Challenges Group was importing bamboo bike frames from their partner, Booomers, in Ghana, and was working with Velow Bikes in Leith who recycle and restore old bikes, I was intrigued and instantly put my name down on the waiting list. Fast forward to last Friday when Challenges lent me the first of these bikes in Scotland to road test it for a few days before the first shipment of frames arrives in Scotland
It's bespoke, beautifully formed, and changing the face of transport in Ghana. The bamboo bicycle is gaining traction in the country and one organization is riding this popularity wave to increase youth employment in the process.