The Telegraph
Thursday , April 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wa Bike test ride successful

- More tests for bamboo cycles before commercial venture

Imphal, April 4: Manipur Cycle Club’s dream of manufacturing a bamboo-fabricated bicycle became a reality with a successful test ride of three bicycles assembled during the four-day workshop that concluded today.

The bike called “Wa (bamboo) Bike” comes in three designs — two for men and one BMX for children.

The bicycle, the first in the country, is made of both iron and bamboo. The main frames are made of bamboo and the rest such as wheels, joints and chains are made of iron parts.

“I am lucky to be one of the few to test ride the Wa Bike. It is similar to the cycles we ride everyday,” said Chungkham Subhas.

Several passers-by along Paona Bazar where the test ride was being held watched the rides with curiosity and interest. “The efforts by the Manipur Cycle Club is really commendable,” one of the bystanders said.

It is indeed a success story. The environment and ecology wing department ordered 1,000 Wa Bikes and the cycle club has started preparing for the supply.

“We want to buy 1,000 cycles to use as samples for environment-friendly means of transport,” Homeshore Singh, director, ecology and environment department, said. He attended the concluding programme of the workshop at the club office here today.

James Mayengbam, a member of the club, said they would test ride the cycles for six months to know the weaknesses and durability before venturing into commercial production.

“We have not fixed the price of the bike. These were assembled only on an experimental basis. The price will be fixed later,” Ramananda Wangkheirakpam, vice-president of the club, said.

The club also plans to create a cottage industry of Wa Bikes in Manipur.

Kamesh Salam, former president of the World Bamboo Organisation, is planning to bring experts from the US and Ghana, who are pioneers in manufacturing bamboo cycles, to Imphal on World Bamboo Day on September 18 to get experts’ opinions.

Salam played a major role in the Wa Bike project.

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