In Just Three Days: Earn Your MBA, Run a Bamboo Bike Company

In Just Three Days: Earn Your MBA, Run a Bamboo Bike Company © Fearless Cottage

Thought about an advanced degree? Have dreams of owning or running your own cycling-related venture?  (We’ve tried both, and the benefits of both are plenty – as long as you’re not counting the monetary type of benefits.) While earning degrees and starting businesses typically take months at least to complete, you now have the opportunity to fit both into an action-packed three days.

The folks at Fearless Cottage, based in the “People’s Republic of Boulder,” have launched an interesting campaign to find and train a few people to run Common Cycles, a bike company to be started in Hale County, Alabama. Hale County happens to be not only the poorest county in Alabama, but all of America.

Why Alabama? The state is focusing on growing Bamboo as a cash crop, in attempt to revitalize a poverty-stricken area and inject it with jobs, industry, entrepreneurship and hopefully some sustainably and locally produced bicycles.

While Boo Bicycles sources bamboo from (and builds in) Vietnam (see our review of Boo’s cyclocross bike in Issue 11), and Calfee sources its bamboo from Taiwan, Common Cycles could be the first company to build frames from bamboo not only grown domestically, but just down the street from its manufacturing facility.  With its success and financial viability, it could even inspire American companies to switch suppliers to Alabama-based Alabamboo.

The program is accepting applications for its unique three-day “MBA” program through April 10th, and we at Cyclocross Magazine want you to apply. Why?  We’d love nothing more for the new company to offer a cyclocross bike, and you’re our best hope at making that happen. More importantly, we’re fans of anything that will help put affordable, sustainably-produced bicycles in the hands and feet of more people.

Official details of the MBA and Common Cycles program below:


Your chance to design and launch a new social venture. We don’t know exactly what will emerge from these 3 days, but we do know that you’ll come out of it with an amazing experience, a new group of brilliant friends and collaborators, and an opportunity to run or be a part of a new business, Common Cycles.

Do you love bikes? Do you believe in the power of bikes to change the world? Have you always dreamed of running your own bike company? Or do you just want to use your skills to launch a social venture? Is the idea of manufacturing positive change by designing a social enterprise built on the values of transparency, sustainability and accountability music to your ears? If so, we’re taking applications for people who are ready to move from talking about ideas to actually making ideas into action.

COMMON is calling for applications for the first Maniacal Business Attack (MBA). This three-day live event takes an early-stage mission and business and brings together 10 passionate and creative individuals who are sick of just talking about change and want to join the league of those who have actually built something. The MBA is a startup accelerator program that encourages the visionaries and their newfound constituents to put their collective talents toward making change happen immediately and collaboratively.
The social enterprise you’ll be designing:

COMMON MBA #001 will be all about designing a new bike company. It couldn’t get any cooler than that for MBA #001. You’re not just starting a bike company. You’re designing a bike company that uses Alabamboo, a new bamboo cash crop that is being developed in Alabama. Think Florida Orange Juice but with bamboo and you have Alabamboo. This will be the first of many companies to take advantage of this new relationship between bamboo growing and industry. The grand goal is to create the most accessible, renewable, sustainable bicycle on the market. Yet there’s lots more to figure out to take this company from 1 to 100. Some facts:

  • Bamboo sequesters carbon at a higher rate than any other biomass.
  • This area Hale County is the poorest in America and this business is created to bring in industry, employment & access to affordable, sustainable bicycles.
  • Still to this day, the bike is the most efficient machine man has ever developed.


Participating in a COMMON event is as much about individual growth as it is about enterprise growth. Participating in the genesis of an actual social venture is something few people ever get the chance to do. The experience is designed be transformative for all. Gaining experience, business contacts, exposure to a large community, life-long friendships and perhaps a whole new career.

You. You’re a designer, an engineer, a PHD in french literature, an economist, whatever. Just explain to us why this matters and why you’ll be great. For this one we could really use some people from the bike industry particularly. Not to follow the rules but for help breaking them. Speaking of breaking the rules, you’ll be working alongside legendary designers, creators, capitalists and entrepreneurs including John Bielenberg, Alex Bogusky, Rob Schuham, Stephen Groth and others.

Applicants will be required to submit a video up to 3 minutes in length addressing the following:

  • Your areas of interest in the social enterprise we’ll be designing
  • Why you think you can make a difference
  • Your skill-sets and expertise that will help us rapidly prototype this enterprise
  • How you think you can make this new enterprise legendary

Video applications due: April 10, 2011

To apply, visit: