Rob Bye

Helping children of The Gambia to attend school.

Many children living in The Gambia, West Africa, live in remote communities, far away from their nearest school. The lack of reliable or affordable transport means that these children are forced to walk great distances in the searing heat if they want the benefit of an education. The charity Jole Rider (pronounced jolly rider) send secondhand bicycles to schools in The Gambia to enable children to get to and from school quickly and safely, making a world of difference to these children’s lives. However, as these bikes were designed for the European market they are prone to break in the harsh African climate and are difficult to repair due to the lack of suitable components.

Jole Rider asked Rob Bye, an industrial design student at Brunel University, to design a bike frame that was more suited to The Gambia’s environment and would ultimately enable more children in The Gambia to attend school. The bike frame needed to be extremely hard wearing, easily repaired with minimal tools and readily available components, safe to ride by people of different ages, and cheap to manufacture.

The Dave Granshaw Foundation and the James Dyson Foundation were able to provide Rob with the funding he needed to take a prototype of his bike to The Gambia for a week of testing. As well as putting the prototype through its paces, Rob also spoke to the children, teachers, and mechanics who regularly use bikes and used his findings to improve the design of his bicycle frame.

You can see more of Rob’s work at