Hoima Bike

June 25, 2009

Since my return from Rwanda I have been dedicating all my time to working with the Bicycle Sponsorship Project Workshop (http://bspw.org) on developing Jason Morris’s cargo bicycle design. While the start up was a little hectic, we are now in full swing.

I started by traveling to Kampala to gather the steel products and components we needed for the first round of production. While BSPW possesses a large supply of western bike components to be used for production, I had to buy a few of what is available here in Uganda for when production surpasses the available supplies at the office. I rounded up the supplies a needed and was glad to leave the overcrowded and dirty streets of Kampala. Needless to say, it was interesting fitting six, four meter steel tubing sections in a Ugandan mini-bus! A few jokes about the paradox of being a poor muzungu and needing to use public transportation to move my goods aided the spirit of my fellow riders.

Once I had safely transported the goods to BSPW’s workshop in Jinja, it was time to start production. We started by cutting all the piping to length and checking that the bottom bracket and fork we were planning to use were compatible with the tube size.Bars With the excitement of the new project, the fabrication staff and I dove head in to spot welding the pieces into formation. We quickly learned that haste was not the name of the game as we realized the need for accuracy and consistency in order to insure all the pieces fit together in the desired fashion, not to mention the thing is supposed to be able to ride in a strait line when it is complete!

Today we took apart our crooked frame and started a brainstorm on how we could create a stand/mold for our frame to insure accuracy. I have to admit, when I woke up this morning I felt a pang of despair as I knew what we were going to try and achieve and what we had to work with.Stand Fabrication To my immense pleasure it only took about 1 hour of the fabrication team and I standing, staring, and scratching for us to come together in unison and create a stand for our frame.Collaboration Our ingenuity flowed together and transcended varying technical knowledge and language barriers. Before lunch we had a solid stand and were all excited to tackle the frame next.
Welding
I was taken back with the work after lunch. The team seemed overjoyed at the opportunity to use their knowledge of metal fabrication to achieve something other then the repetitive doors and windows they spend all the days working on. By the time we the sun was setting, we had a finish welded frame. Angles were correct, measurements were met, smiles were cracked.
Frame

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One Response to “Hoima Bike”

  1. Don Roper Says:

    I’ve been reading your blogs with some interest. Having spent a year in East Africa myself in the distant past, but recollecting a strong sense that a great need was a bike that would carry heavy loads better on dirt roads. Thus I’m glad to see someone working on that problem/need. I’d like to learn more about your specific situation, your business plan, the organization your connected with etc. if you felt inclined to share that.
    I think I saw that you attended WWU (Walla Walla University). I graduated from there in 1974. I was their first SM to Tanzania.


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