VIDEO: Worldbike’s Big Boda Transports Cargo and Improves Lives

by , 06/11/10

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Over a billion people in the world don’t have access to transportation. Worldbike is trying to fight that problem with great design as their weapon. Founder Ross Evans created Worldbike a decade ago on a quest to use the bicycle as a cargo-carrying partner to solve the issues of poverty, gender inequality, hunger and disease. He designed the Big Boda bicycle as a tool for persons in developing countries to use as transport for goods and people. Built from the ground up in local workshops, the Big Boda allows farmers to bring their goods to market, enables schoolchildren to travel in search of education, and brings health care to people’s doorsteps. Watch this third video in our five video series on non-profits that are using sustainable design to change lives to learn more about Worldbike.

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In poverty-stricken rural areas the most common way to carry goods is on the head, and the most common way to transport people is by foot. Problems arise because of the small loads that people can handle, the stress it puts on their bodies, and the amount of time it takes to carry them. The Big Boda bicycle allows people to transport a larger amount of goods in a smaller amount of time. In places where young girls aren’t allowed to part from housework in order to go to school, the Big Boda cuts down on their travel time and gives them access to an education. In places where health specialists don’t have a way to bring health care to remote villages, the Big Boda gives them a way to bring medical supplies to people who need them.

Worldbike discovered that conventional bicycles aren’t capable of enduring constant use with heavy cargo and quickly break down. So they designed a bike from the ground up that is optimized for these conditions. It has an extended back wheel, an attached platform, and a simple but innovative weight distribution system that keeps the bike sturdy while loaded up with goods or people. The bike was featured in the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt museum as part of the “Design for the Other 90%” exhibition as an example of great design being used to help underprivileged communities. Worldbike makes the bike available for a fair price with the help of a microcredit organization and gives people in the developing world the tools they need to create a better life for themselves. With the help of a simple design strategy Worldbike has created a system that uses “mobility for good”.

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of American Express or its partners.

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4 Comments

  1. greenrainbow June 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    The Big Boda is such a great idea! So cool that they’ve figured out a way to make bikes last longer. And giving people tools to keep their bicycles in tip-top shape is such a smart idea. Worldbike sounds like a great organization!

  2. Rebecca Paul Rebecca Paul June 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

    This is a wonderful example of how a simple concept can be the solution for some of the worlds most complex problems.

  3. kdalnation June 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    This is a fantastic project all around – from concept to execution. Definitely stands out as a leader in social entrepreneurship.

  4. jimmyg June 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Really awesome operation World Bike – making these bikes locally as well creates more jobs and helps the local economies. Repairing the bikes and keeping them operational must also be more efficient with the knowledge already in the communities on how to do so.

    Good luck moving forward, this project will help many, many people.

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