African Bicycle Design Contest: How Do You Redesign an Icon?


Cycling out of Poverty (CooP), a nonprofit that supports bicycle projects in developing countries, invites students, designers and other cycling advocates to submit ideas for the African Bicycle Design Contest. The aim is to “design affordable quality bicycles tuned to the needs of (potential) cyclists in Africa,” especially workers who need to transport heavy and bulky goods, and also, women.

The contest is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM.) During the first phase of the contest – “open wiki-bike” – everyone is invited to submit their ideas, with supporting materials like photos, drawings, sketches or even poems. A professional jury of designers and sustainable social entrepreneurship experts will select five winning entries, which will be passed on to a design team that will develop the ideas into prototypes.

In the second phase of the project – “wiki-bike co-creation” – a student design team and professional design coach will continue to refine the prototype and develop a business plan for manufacturing and marketing.  The winning team will be awarded with a trip to Africa to kick-start the manufacturing process.

The deadline for entry is October 1, 2010. For official rules, click here.

We’ve written about bicycles in Africa before. There were posts about merging the use of recycled bicycles with health care delivery in rural East Africa, delivering custom-made, industrial bicycles to coffee workers in Rwanda, and reporting on the importance of bicycles for the economic livelihoods of many Africans.

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