Bicycles – a way of Life in Malawi

306B03F6-6B14-451B-A51A-0AD412EECB61

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike,   I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.

A lone cyclist passing by, Liwonde Region, Malawi

A lone cyclist passing by, Liwonde Region, Malawi

Who doesn’t know the lyrics to this famous ‘Queen’ song? This is exactly the impression I get here in Malawi.

Busy cycle street in Salima, Malawi

Busy cycle street in Salima, Malawi

No matter where I was, city, beach or on deserted sandy roads, there was always a bike to be seen.

Long way on dusty tracks near Salima, Malawi

Long way on dusty tracks near Salima, Malawi

 Driving at night, they were hardly seen and a serious danger for themselves. A popular way to get from A to B.

Quick fix on side off the road, Northern Region, Malawi

Quick fix on side off the road, Northern Region, Malawi

Cheap, easy handling and easy to fix on the side of the road, it really makes sense to have one.

Bike repairs in Chembe, Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi, Malawi

Bike repairs in Chembe, Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi, Malawi

Most common bike style is the ‘old Dutch fitzie’,

Female mountain bike rider at Salima Region, Malawi

Female mountain bike rider at Salima Region, Malawi

but also Mountain Bikes and

Sporty speedster, Lilongwe, Malawi

Sporty speedster, Lilongwe, Malawi

Trail Bikes have been rarely encountered.

Full load of charcoal, Lilongwe, Malawi

A full load of charcoal, Lilongwe, Malawi

Most astonishing is though, the way it’s used as a transport.

Classic bike taxi in Monkey Bay, Lake Malawi, Malawi

Classic bike taxi in Monkey Bay, Lake Malawi, Malawi

Bike taxis for people. A registered license plate and handlebars are mounted,

Comfort, style and license plate at Monkey Bay, Lake Malawi, Malawi

Comfort, style and license plate at Monkey Bay, Lake Malawi, Malawi

with cushions added for comfort.

Family transport, Northern Region, Malawi

Family transport, Northern Region, Malawi

This whole family even seem to fit on a classic bike.

Not so sure about the camera, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Not so sure about the camera, Nhakata Bay, Malawi

Kids up front or on the back, wife in the middle and off you ride.

Kids taxi, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

Kids taxi, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

I didn’t come across any kids bikes, but that didn’t stop them to cycle the adult bikes. Too cute.

Dodging traffic in Lilongwe, Malawi

Dodging traffic in Lilongwe, Malawi

I have seen pretty much everything being transported on bikes, in masses.

He hasn’t lost his moyo, Lilongwe, Malawi

He hasn’t lost his mojo, Lilongwe, Malawi

Just like most trucks passing by, the bikes are loaded to maximum capacity.

Trying to smile whilst pushing heavy load in Lilongwe, Malawi

Trying to smile whilst pushing heavy load in Lilongwe, Malawi

Up to 8 cases of beer,

A woodstacker in Lilongwe, Malawi

A wood stacker in Lilongwe, Malawi

 2-meter stacks of wood on a specially designed transport holder, crates and crates of bread, a full load of pots and pans,

Riding to a picnic spot?, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

Riding to a picnic spot?, Lilongwe Region, Malawi

and even chickens and pigs somehow tied to the rim.

Sugar cane Transporter starting in early years in Lilongwe, Malawi

Sugarcane Transporter starting in early years in Lilongwe, Malawi

Sugar cane was a popular item in Lilongwe.

Mobile sugar cane shop, Lilongwe, Malawi

Mobile sugar cane shop, Lilongwe, Malawi

Unfortunately, I missed many many opportunities to capture this bike trading culture alongside the road.

Pumping, pumping in Lilongwe, Malawi

Pumping, pumping in Lilongwe, Malawi

The tyres were never flat, even heavily loaded. Driving along the hillside, people pushing their heavy loads up the mountain and jump back on again for the downhill ride.

Bike repairs in Lilongwe, Malawi

Bike repairs in Lilongwe, Malawi

Each community has at least one bike repair shop, stacked with bikes to be repaired.

Father and son bike in Northern Region, Malawi

Father and son bike in Northern Region, Malawi

I tried often to take photos incognito but was spotted quickly with a friendly smile, most times.

Looking cool on the bike, Northern Region, Malawi

Looking cool on the bike, Northern Region, Malawi

They stopped and posed happily in front of my camera. Some weren’t impressed at all.

Battling dust near Salima, Malawi

Battling dust near Salima, Malawi

Cars and truck drivers really didn’t care about this hinder ness on the road, tooting them off the road.

Riding in to the dust around Cape Maclear, Malawi

Riding into the dust around Cape Maclear, Malawi

Riding on dusty tracks has a dusty result, dust is just part of life here. Again, I was never quick enough to capture the dust covered bike riders. 

Showing off his modern mountain bike in Northern Region, Malawi

Showing off his modern mountain bike in Northern Region, Malawi

Only the happy riders posing for a photo. 

Bike taxi stands in Lilongwe, Malawi

Bike taxi stands in Lilongwe, Malawi

Keep on riding, keep on smiling Malawi.

I get the impression I will be seeing way more bicycles in Africa.

2 thoughts on “Bicycles – a way of Life in Malawi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s