Bamboo bike diplomacy between Indonesia and Australia

Bamboo bike diplomacy between Indonesia and Australia

EBF Appreciates Jokowi’s Gift of a Spedagi Bamboo Bike to Australian PM

The Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF) appreciates President Jokowi’s gesture to invite Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to ride a bicycle and gift him a Spedagi bamboo bicycle during the meeting of the two leaders of the countries Monday (6/1) at the State Palace, Bogor.

“Mr. President has started diplomacy on bamboo bicycles. The gift of bamboo bicycles shows that the President is supportive of the community-based bamboo industry and products made in Indonesia by using them as a tool of diplomacy,” said EBF Executive Director, Monica Tanuhandaru.

EBF is a non-profit organization that since 1993 has studied and showcased bamboo as a social, ecological and economic solution for indigenous and local communities. Together with the local government and rural communities, EBF is currently intensively developing village-based bamboo industry and bamboo agroforestry villages in NTT. EBF has also started initiating the program in the provinces of Bali, East Java, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan.


Currently, EBF is collaborating with Spedagi, the name of the bamboo bicycle designed, produced and developed by Singgih Kartono, a product designer who has won several international awards. Later, the result of this collaboration will produce a bamboo bicycle made of bamboo planted by the community in Flores, NTT.

In 2021, EBF assisted 388 ‘Bamboo Mamas’ Bambu in 21 villages in 7 districts in Flores and succeeded in creating and caring for 2.5 million bamboo seedlings. “This gift giving bike is the second good news for us this month. The first good news was the President’s visit to the Turetogo Bamboo Campus, which is the center of education, research and innovation for EBF, and on that occasion the President bought a Spedagi bicycle that was on display,” added Monica.

During a visit to the Turetogo Bamboo Campus in Ngada, NTT, President Jokowi had the opportunity to chat with the Bamboo Mamas and Singgih Kartono. On that occasion, Singgih showed the work of the Dalanrata series of bamboo bicycles (road bikes) designed for use on the highway. President Jokowi then bought a a Dalanrata bicycle, and a few days later ordered an additional unit to be gifted to the Australian PM.

Tough and Environmentally Friendly

Spedagi is a bicycle with a frame made of bamboo, while the other elements are quality components obtained on the open market. Although made of bamboo, the power of the Spedagi bicycle cannot be underestimated. The Dalanrata series has been used by Indonesian cyclists to complete the most prestigious long-distance cycling event in the world, the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur in 2019. Two
Indonesian cyclists (Salman Faridi and Vidi Widyastono) using Dalanrata successfully completed the 1,200 km route. Dalanrata has also successfully completed the Java Landscape bicycle tour from Anyer to Banyuwangi (1,400 km) in 2022.

“Bamboo bicycles are strong, visually more beautiful than other materials, and also more comfortable because bamboo has the ability to absorb vibrations, the bamboo cells are like micro-suspension,” said Singgih Kartono.

Singgih started designing bamboo bicycles in 2013 after he felt “slapped” by seeing the existence of bamboo bicycles in a number of countries that do not have bamboo though Indonesia, which is rich in bamboo resources. Using the potential of bamboo growing in his village in Temanggung, Central Java, Singgih then began designing and producing bamboo bicycles under the Spedagi banner. His company trains and educates village youth to make bamboo bicycles.
In the international design arena, the Spedagi bamboo bike has made a name for itself. In 2018, the Spedagi bamboo bike won the Gold Prize at the prestigious Good Design Award event in Tokyo. The Spedagi bamboo bicycle has also become an elective subject at the Tokyo Zokei University design education institute.

“In the context of the bamboo program in Indonesia, we need symbols and icons to spark people’s love for bamboo. Good and cool products, both functionally and aesthetically, such as bamboo bicycles, will have an important role in revitalizing the bamboo industry at a village level,” he explained.

Bamboo Bike Goes Global

YBL’s Senior Advisor, Noer Fauzi Rachman, pointed out that the President’s move, by giving the spedagi as a souvenir, signifies the contribution of nature and the Indonesian people in the international diplomacy arena.

“Remembering World Environment Day, June 5, 2022, this gift is important to mark the ability of Indonesian citizens to innovate new technology by using environmentally friendly materials, producing modern goods based on community-based industries,” he said. This kind of diplomacy, according to him, will be very important and interesting for Indonesia to show in the context of the upcoming G20 meeting.

“There is a continuation of this bamboo bicycle diplomacy which is also important. Namely, creating new ways of viewing and appreciating bamboo, and developing strategies to revitalize existing agroforestry into sustainable bamboo forests, which are able to supply the need for continuous use of bamboo. Bamboo can be a modality in various cultural promotions, including in the context of overcoming poverty by eliminating structural and cultural barriers that hinder the growth and development of rural communities, including women, children and youth. Bamboo really has the potential to be a solution. We are looking forward to what will happen with this momentum,” he said.

President’s Working Visit in NTT: Jokowi greets Bamboo Mamas in Ngada

President’s Working Visit in NTT: Jokowi greets Bamboo Mamas in Ngada

In the midst of heavy rains that hit Ngada, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. H. Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo took the time to visit the Turetogo Bamboo Campus on Wednesday afternoon (1/6) and greet the Mama Bambu, women pioneers who have spearheaded the bamboo nursery and reforestation program in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

The nursery and reforestation program using bamboo is a collaboration between the NTT Provincial Government and the Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF). The program involved 388 Bamboo Mamas in 21 villages in 7 districts in Flores. In 2021, the Bamboo Mamas succeeded in propagating and caring for more than 2.5 million seedlings. The number of seedlings is sufficient to rehabilitate 72,000 hectares of critical land.

This program is part of a long-term effort to develop bamboo agroforestry villages in NTT. The Bamboo Agroforestry Village program uses bamboo as a conservation plant (restoring critical land, protecting water sources, preventing landslides, absorbing carbon) as well as a plant to improve the welfare of rural communities through the smallholder bamboo industry.

The presidential entourage arrived at the Turetogo Bamboo Campus in Ratogesa Village, Golewa District, at 15.20 WITA and was immediately greeted by EBF leaders, including EBF Chair, Arief Rabik, Executive Director Monica Tanuhandaru, Senior Adviser Noer Fauzi Rachman, Senior Adviser Sarah Lery Mboeik, and bamboo taxonomy expert Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Widjaja. Also present were Singgih Kartono, the creator of the Spedagi bamboo bicycle, the Regent of Ngada, Andreas Paru, the Governor of NTT, Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat (VBL), and the Chair of the NTT PKK Mobilizing Team, Bunda Julie S Laiskodat. VBL and Bunda Julie are the main supporters of this bamboo nursery and reforestation program.

President Jokowi then listened to Arief Rabik’s explanation about laminated bamboo, a processed bamboo product that has a shape and strength similar to wood. With the potential of bamboo that NTT has, this province has the opportunity to become a center for producing laminated bamboo. The global market demand for laminated bamboo will continue to increase because laminated bamboo is a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and lower carbon alternative than wood.

President Jokowi then spent a long time talking with the nine Bamboo Mamas who were the representatives of Bamboo Mamas throughout Flores. Of these nine women, five are from Ngada and four are from Nagekeo.

“Mr. President asked about the number of seedlings we produce, the price of seedlings, how to propagate the seedlings, and how long it takes to maintain the seedlings until the each plant has 25 leaves,” said Wilhelmina Bhoki (51), a Bamboo Mama from Genamere Village, Bajawa.

Wilhemina Bhoki couldn’t hide her joy at meeting and conversing with Jokowi.

“I’m very happy, since I was born, this is the first time I’ve been able to meet Mr. President,” she said.

So happy, Wilhelmina and the other Bamboo Mama asked for an opportunity to take a photo with President Jokowi and the First Lady.

“We asked for a group photo, and I was next to the President, very proud,” she said with a smile.

In his conversation with EBF Senior Adviser Noer Fauzi Rachman, President Jokowi asked what support he could provide to encourage the creation of NTT as a center for community based bamboo industry. Noer Fauzi Rachman describes the need to have a National Bamboo Development Strategy to accelerate the creation of a people-based bamboo industry throughout Indonesia.

“Mr. President stated that he is ready to help and support these efforts,” said Noer Fauzi Rachman.

President Jokowi and his entourage left the Turetogo Bamboo Campus at 16.00 WITA.

The Turetogo Bamboo Campus was inaugurated in May 2021 and aspires to be a center for education, research, innovation, and cultural exchange about bamboo. So far, the Turetogo Bamboo Campus has carried out a number of educational activities and workshops on the nursery, planting and sustainable management of bamboo forests. The campus is equipped with a number of facilities, including a study building, lodging, bamboo preservation installations, bamboo gardens with local plants, as well as an example of the Sustainable Bamboo House building–a residence made of laminated bamboo with a knock-down system. Rumah Bambu Lestari can be an alternative for social housing, post-disaster temporary housing, public facility buildings, and tourist resorts.

EBF was founded in 1993 and has consistently campaigned for bamboo as an ecological solution and an economic solution in village development. Currently EBF is working with villagers in NTT, Bali, East Java, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan in developing bamboo agroforestry villages.