The story

The BlackStar was born out of a desire to produce a bamboo bicycle that would be more than just a novel gimmick. The BlackStar therefore combines all the ingredients of the safe and stylish urban bicycle transportation to which we are accustomed, with socially and ecologically sustainable and affordable mobility.

During the years we lived and worked in Africa, one of the issues that kept us thinking is the lack of export of manufactured goods. Africa provides enormous amounts of raw materials, from crude oil to tea, cocoa and coffee and this is well known. But what does Africa manufacture? Africa’s raw materials are shipped to western countries and to China, to be processed there. In other words, African countries are unable to enjoy the maximum of profits from their natural resources. The profits made by a Ghanaian farmer on a bag of cocoa beans are low, but the profits made by household chocolate brands, which contain those very same beans, are very high indeed.

In this sense, the BlackStar brand is not only a business concept, it is a statement; give Africa the chance to process its own raw materials into consumer goods. By doing so, the African labour force and African entrepreneurs are not only pulled up the supply chain where profits are bigger, in addition, formal employment, with all its benefits, is created. We at BlackStarBikes want to deliver a product which embodies not only the future of development, but also the future of green consumption. Ending Africa’s poverty means trade, not aid. Western consumption requires a green revolution. For that to happen, we believe, sustainable products should not involve compromises, not in terms of quality, but also not in price. Therefore we offer a bicycle which in terms of price, design and quality, can compete with other urban bicycles.

“In the centre of the Ghanaian flag is a black star and Ghana’s beloved football team is known as ‘the Black Stars’. But Ghana’s black Star has a forgotten origin. It references the Black Star Shipping Line, started in 1919 by the great pan-Africanist, Marcus Garvey. The Black Star Shipping line was supposed to facilitate the transportation of African goods throughout global economy. As we share so much of the same goals, we thought that it was an appropriate name for our bicycle.”

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