I mentioned last year that I am serving as one of the judges in the African Bicycle Design Contest, the aim of which is to create “affordable quality bicycles tuned to the needs of (potential) cyclists in Africa.” In the first ‘open wiki-bike’ phase of the contest, which took place in 2010, we ranked the entries received through the website and as a jury collectively narrowed down to five finalists (scroll down to the ‘Presenting the winners’ post on the news page).
The second part of the contest, which is currently underway, is the ‘wiki-bike co-creation’ phase. In order to move the ideas closer to reality, the five winners from phase 1 were each assigned a student design team from a participating university, and an experienced professional designer to serve as a team coach. Since phase 2 began in the fall of last year, the teams have been busy developing functional prototypes and creating viable business plans. To document their progress along the way, each team has been contributing to the Wiki-bike blog (see the categories box at the bottom of the right sidebar to view those posts from each team, including midterm presentation videos that are interesting).
This Friday, June 10th, at the City Hall of Nijmegen (the oldest town in the Netherlands), phase 2 comes to a close with the final presentation and awards ceremony. Starting around noon, each of the five teams will have 15 minutes to make their final presentations to the jury. After the presentations, the jury will deliberate while other attendees and participants visit the Velorama National Bicycle Museum. Later that evening, the winner will be announced and the final awards will be presented. The winning design team will then have the opportunity to travel to Kenya for 10 days to train and assist a local Kenyon team who will put their idea into production.
Unfortunately, I am unable to make the trip to Europe this week, so I will be carefully reviewing the final presentations from home and judging each on how well they meet six different criteria; technology, sustainability, application to the target group, business case, affordability, and overall design. I really regret that I won’t be able to be there in person, but once the winner is announced, I’ll follow up with a post about the chosen concept.
If any of you live in or near Nijmegan, and are interested in attending the presentations and ceremony on Friday, email Luuk from Cycling out of Poverty or Thies from Ideal & Co. as soon as you can. Space is limited at the venue, so you will need to contact one of them in advance to reserve a spot. I really wish I could be there too…it should be a very interesting day of discussion about bikes and design.