RAIPUR: Synonymous with Maoist activities, Bastar can now thank the humble bicycle albeit with an innovative twist for bringing positive spotlight on the region. Bambooka — a brainchild of professionals from Jagdalpur — incorporates bamboo, wrought iron, shishal (jute fibre) and bell metal with usual components to give riders a customised two-wheeler of their choice.
“We chalked out the idea that we should create a scope of livelihood, preserve and promote the unique handicraft of the tribal communities in the region. Tribals usually adopt those works or jobs that they find connected to the roots of their ancestors. Handicraft is one such area in their lives,” said Asif Khan, one of the co-founders of the project launched by ‘Naturescape’ during the pandemic.
Weighing just 8.2 kg, Bambooka with accessories crafted from bamboo is at least 60 per cent lighter than an average cycle weighing nearly 18 kg. Bambooka, he said, is a tribute to Bastar artisans and their fast depleting art. “Africa has a successful livelihood model on bamboo cycles for tribals.
For over a year, we focused differently on the bicycle-oriented design and user-centred geometry to make it robust, safe and comfortable. It has a tensile strength sustaining a load of at least 100 kg. Bamboo has an inherent shock absorber owing to its flexibility unlike metals. Our next plan is to create a bicycle for women,” Khan said.
Regarding the price of about Rs 35,000 for the product, Khan’s partner gave reasons to justify the tag. “One cycle takes around 20 days as bamboo is properly chemically treated, taking out the moisture content from it, sun-dried followed by a clear coat,” said Tarun Sharma, co-founder of Naturescape.