Drahtesel

“Wire donkey,” a German nickname for bicycles because they speed you on your way while carrying quite heavy loads.

A Chicago couple has put together an economic development program called World Bicycle Relief. They’ve given away thousands of “Buffaloes,” very stable heavy bikes that can carry 100 kg over the rear wheel. The bikes have one gear and one back-pedal brake and are put together in Africa from parts made in Asia, by >60 mechanics working full-time. No unusual or proprietary tools are required, such as Allen wrenches or chain keys. Everything can be taken apart and re-assembled; there are no unnecessary rivets. World Bicycle Relief also teaches people how to repair the bikes.

The group tries to give more than half the bikes to girls. Because, around the world, girls are often sent to bring the day’s water for their families, walking such long distances that this chore keeps them from attending school. With a Buffalo bike, they can bring back the water and then bike to school.

FAZ.net said it’s a good thing these bikes are so stable because they’re being used to transport AIDS patients in a volunteer program in Zambia. Farmers can use them to bring produce and milk to market. The bikes can earn a little extra income by being rented out to neighbors.

(DRAUGHT aezle.)

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