The Boston Community
From Beijing to Boston!
In 2014, a group of six of fun-loving Beijing residents began building bamboo bicycles in the traditional alleyways of Beijing. On the weekends they would gather and teach people to make their own bamboo bicycles. They called themselves Bamboo Bicycles Beijing or "BBB" for short.
The community has gradually grown throughout the world: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Fujian, Laos, Ethiopia, Japan, Germany, Serbia, Denver, and now Bamboo Bicycles BOSTON!
The best part of a bamboo bicycle is that you can make it, and you can make it with other people! Since the DIY bamboo bicycle workshop spread to Boston in 2015, there have been number of Boston-area residents who have made their bamboo bicycle in the Beantown. Each person has their own story to share about making their first bamboo bicycle and bringing something new to the mix! Check them out below!
The first BBBoston-made bike was in August, 2015 after David came over from Beijing with a bundle of bamboo from the Beijing workshop. Having come to Boston for graduation school after founding Bamboo Bicycles Beijing, David just wanted one bike to commute to school on. But, just a few months in David began to miss the bamboo bike workshops he had been leading in Beijing, so he began running occasional workshops in the Boston area. Because of this he has made a lot of new friends who have made bamboo bicycles with him (see below
Before Boston, David spent six years in China as an ethnographer studying contemporary Chinese culture before opening the Beijing workshop. The Beijing workshop is running weekly workshops and is closing in on having taught 400 people to each build his/her own bike!
Joe and Julian
Joe, Julian, and David met while hacking away in MIT's maker spaces. Over the winter vacation, Julian and Joe brought wrapping carbon fiber to a new level of precision and beauty by painstakingly hand-wrapping the most beautiful carbon lugs BBB has yet to see! They also made one of the lightest bikes in the fleet!
Today, Joe hogs the bamboo bike they made and is working on laser cutting burlap fabric to make even more stylish lugs!
Emily first learned about bamboo bicycles in Beijing when she supported the BBB Kickstarter, but she never had a chance to swing by the Beijing workshop. One day while perusing Facebook, she saw that there would be a bamboo bike making workshop not far from where she had once gone to high school. She joined the workshop, and with the help of one of Bamboo Bicycles Beijing's finest leaders, Marshall Cao, who just happened to be in town, she rode away on her own bamboo bicycle!
Sonja and Ezra
Scott (far left)
Scott made a bike with David in January 2016 and caught the bamboo bug. Scott already owned enough bikes, but he was taken with a challenge from MIT to cross the Charles River in a novel way. He put together a semi-worthy crew to lash together a bamboo raft to make the crossing. Scott led the maiden voyage across the Charles River in what was most likely the first time river had been navigated by such a bamboo vessel.
In addition to getting his Masters in Transportation Planning from MIT, Scott is a wheelchair design mastermind!
Max initially stumbled upon bamboo bicycles while studying abroad in China during the spring of 2015. Immediately intrigued after stopping by the workshop in Beijing, Max knew he needed to find out more about these awesome bikes. That fall, he sent David Wang, the founder of Bamboo Bicycles Beijing and graduate student at MIT an email. Max offered to volunteer at the workshops David was organizing that spring and began to learn about bamboo bike making through assisting at workshops. The following summer Max traveled with David to intern at Bamboo Bicycles Beijing where he made his first bamboo bicycle and returned to Boston ready to lead his own workshop session. Max is currently working with the Brookline Teen Center and hopes to lead his first workshop there soon!
Max can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline was one of the first people to make a bamboo bicycle in Boston! In January 2016, she and David slapped together a couple frames and in the process of doing so discovered a breakthrough tool that shaved hours of the build time: the pipe notcher! Caroline has since wrote an MIT Global Ideas Grant with David to help fund a youth fellowship program in Beijing, and she worked on a bamboo bike light DIY kit.
Caroline is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, where she works on building sensors and analyzing data to make cities more livable and accessible. BBB is the perfect nexus of her interest in bicycles (developed during a Fulbright Fellowship in the Netherlands - where else?), electronics (she has an EECS undergraduate degree from Yale), and hands-on fabrication (she’s been an enthusiastic maker from a young age). She has been involved with BBB since early 2016 in a variety of functions: making her own frame, helping out at bicycle workshops, and developing an electronics program to be taught alongside the frame workshops.
Maddie discovered Bamboo Bicycles Beijing while working at an environmental organization in Beijing. As she prepared to return to the US to complete her final year at Northeastern University, Maddie was thrilled to learn that BBB had a presence in Boston and knew she wanted to help spread its hands-on creativity, inclusive community, and bike-related joy. Maddie is enthusiastically welcoming and loves turning ideas into projects at BBB.