Can an innovation in bicycles build resilient communities?

An innovative cargo bicycle designed for farmers and villagers may help boost incomes in isolated farming communities in Nepal.

Video: Ramesh Bushal

Designed, tested, and built in Nepal, long-tailed cargo bicycles have started getting attention in its capital city, Kathmandu.

These bicycles were designed by an American bicycle enthusiast, Caleb Joel Spear, who aims to make bicycles a real means of transportation with business value for small and low income entrepreneurs.

Combining innovation and the power of pedals, Portal Bikes—the company has been registered in Nepal—launched the first cargo bicycle in 2014. Dustin Alarid joined Spear’s mission after his graduation from Kathmandu University and has been working in the team since.

With seven gears, front disk brakes and strong wheels, long-tailed cargo bicycle can carry up to 150 kilogrammes, excluding the rider, and costs around NPR 30,000 (USD 300 approximately). There are some accessories such as a grinder and corn sheller that can fit in the bicycle. “It’s a family bicycle, it’s a business bicycle and, it’s also farmers’ bicycle”, Alarid said.

During the resilience conference held in Kathmandu in December 2017, Portal Bikes had a demonstration stall at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), where more than 200 experts from across the Hindukush Himalayan region and beyond gathered to discuss how to build resilient communities impacted by climate change.

Alarid thinks these kind of innovations help communities by enabling them to do things in a more efficient way at a low cost to generate income.

Here’s a video of this innovative bicycle and how it can help build resilient communities.

This story was published with permission from The Third Pole.

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