Learn how to build a bicycle frame, keep the skills and give your first bike to someone who really needs it. We give people the lessons, skills and kit to design and make their own bikes. But there’s a big difference. Each ‘Make a bike. Make a difference’ Course student at The Bicycle Academy makes a frame designed especially to use in Africa. These students keep the skills they learn while their first bike goes to someone who really needs it. Once they’ve made their frame for Africa, graduates can come back to our workshop to hone their skills and build their own frames. Everyone wins.
We’ve based our TBA Africa bike on the Buffalo Bike designed specifically for people in Africa. Our TBA Africa Bike is tough, and thanks to the fantastic standard components it can last for five years without much maintenance. The tyres are puncture-resistant – good for travelling over rugged ground. It’s simple, so it’s easy to look after and it doesn’t need lots of fiddly parts if anything does go wrong. It’s strong, so it can carry heavy loads. And it’s flexible, so it can be used for all kinds of different things like going to school or work, collecting food and water, helping health workers get from A to B, and even as an ambulance.
We know frame-building classes aren’t cheap and if you don’t have a workshop nearby with all the kit it’ll be hard for you to make another bike. Which means you might want to keep hold of your very first frame. But The Bicycle Academy is different. We’re open every week for you and other graduates to come back and build your own frames, at your own pace, as and when you want to. So rather than putting all your focus into one frame, you can build your first frame knowing that it will be one of many, and give it away knowing that it will change someone’s life.
We’re proud to say that our TBA Africa Bikes have safely arrived in Namibia, and are already being given out to teachers, students and healthcare workers.
150 TBA Africa Bikes have been distributed in Namibia. Many have been donated to Kindergarten Teachers working in Outapi, Namibia. A collaboration between SunCycles Namibia, BEN Namibia, DAPP Namibia, and supported by the FNB Foundation (FNB Namibia) and The Bicycle Academy.
Here you can see pre-primary teachers learning to take care of their bikes, as well as riding them.
Bikes have also been donated to a youth after school programme in Otjiwarongo and health outreach workers in Walvis Bay.
Some are also being used as an integral part of ‘Clean up Namibia’, a great initiative which will create hundreds of jobs, clean up the streets and reuse tonnes of glass, plastic, paper and steel packaging. Created by BEN Namibia, the project is starting in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund with 10 trailers, ultimately BEN Namibia aim to cover the whole of the country with recycling units, and eventually to collect enough materials for local recycling production to become viable.
Pre-primary school teachers in Outapi being taught how to maintain their TBA Africa Bikes, this one was made by Dereck Cutler, one of our first students…
Here’s one of our TBA Africa Bikes being tested out along the skeleton coast in Namibia…