Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kona's AfricaBike

I'm not always very hooked into goings on in the bicycle industry, and though I vaguely remember news of this bike, I didn't take much notice until someone on the KOG list pointed it out today. For those who don't know the backstory, Kona developed an economical utilitarian bicycle for the delivery of medicine by African workers to those they serve. Partners and donors sponsor the bikes, they're shipped overseas and put to use. Very good idea.

Kona recently started selling the bicycles to the public. I haven't tried one, but the same design the makes it a useful delivery vehicle on African roads would likely make it a good vehicle for transport in urban areas. Fenders, basket, rack, chainguard--everything's there. For different reasons Americans need these bikes as well. There are different types of poverty, and the poverty created by mechanical Jacobinism is real and profound. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying our rootlessness and lack of community is the same thing as not having access to necessary medicine and health care. Only that there are different types of poverty but all produce suffering. Of course the Africans' have the benefit of welcoming relief, while we largely remain smitten with our disorder.

Three cheers for the AfricaBike . I will be calling Kona on Monday to see about getting some of these for the shop. I believe the more that are sold stateside the more get shipped overseas. Win-win.

AfricaBike 3.0 (3-speed w/ coasterbrake)
AfricaBike 2.0 (singlespeed w/ coasterbrake)

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