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.