In recent months, our bamboo workshop has been developing towards full capacity, operating six days most weeks, with our bamboo bike building team now increased to 9, with the addition of 2 EBPP high school graduates from our Cegi School class of 2011.
Below is an overview of the bamboo workshop developments to improve the quality and capacity for producing bamboo bikes and other bamboo products, including new facilities added and additional resources needed.
A key essential for all bamboo poles before use is to ensure that as soon as harvested, they are cleaned and treated to preserve the bamboo and prevent termite infestation, and then dried to a moisture content of 6-8%. Here was where we experienced difficulties due to our often very humid and cloudy days at our Daya Bamboo Workshop area. I should clarify that Daya, at an elevation of about 950 metres above sea level, is in the valley between Mounts Agung and Abang, with temperatures that can range from an overnight low of 12 degrees Celsius to a high of 32 degrees in the same day, and due to its valley location, has quite high humidity and gets more rain and cloud than the remaining 18 hamlets of our mountain village.
To solve this problem, we built a 4m x 6m ‘drying room’ from matt black painted corrugated zinc sheets to absorb the heat, built pallet-type drying racks inside to stack the bamboo and installed a dehumidifier with fans at the rear to absorb the humidity and increase the temperature – resulting in achieving the desired moisture content of the cut bamboo poles after treatment in a just a few days – whereas before building the drying room, it could take weeks and not achieve the low moisture content required. Now, we can dry the bamboo and maintain the appropriate moisture content until the poles are needed for the next bike!
Our bamboo workshop team can now produce more bamboo bike frames each week but not enough! The main time consuming factor is sanding the epoxy & hemp joints, which can be significantly reduced by equipping our workshop with special pneumatic sanding and other tools and a powerful enough air compressor, for which we are now seeking further funds.
We achieved these results through the amazing support of our Global Giving Crowdfunding donors and we sincerely hope you can now help us reach our funding goals to fully equip the Bamboo Workshop, and offer prospects for sustainable livelihoods for local youth showcase the unique properties and benefits of bamboo as one of the most sustainable and eco- friendly resources on the planet.