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.
Who doesn’t know the lyrics to this famous ‘Queen’ song? This is exactly the impression I get here in Malawi.
No matter where I was, city, beach or on deserted sandy roads, there was always a bike to be seen.
Driving at night, they were hardly seen and a serious danger for themselves. A popular way to get from A to B.
Cheap, easy handling and easy to fix on the side of the road, it really makes sense to have one.
Most common bike style is the ‘old Dutch fitzie’,
but also Mountain Bikes and
Trail Bikes have been rarely encountered.
Most astonishing is though, the way it’s used as a transport.
Bike taxis for people. A registered license plate and handlebars are mounted,
with cushions added for comfort.
This whole family even seem to fit on a classic bike.
Kids up front or on the back, wife in the middle and off you ride.
I didn’t come across any kids bikes, but that didn’t stop them to cycle the adult bikes. Too cute.
I have seen pretty much everything being transported on bikes, in masses.
Just like most trucks passing by, the bikes are loaded to maximum capacity.
Up to 8 cases of beer,
2-meter stacks of wood on a specially designed transport holder, crates and crates of bread, a full load of pots and pans,
and even chickens and pigs somehow tied to the rim.
Sugar cane was a popular item in Lilongwe.
Unfortunately, I missed many many opportunities to capture this bike trading culture alongside the road.
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.
Each community has at least one bike repair shop, stacked with bikes to be repaired.
I tried often to take photos incognito but was spotted quickly with a friendly smile, most times.
They stopped and posed happily in front of my camera. Some weren’t impressed at all.
Cars and truck drivers really didn’t care about this hinder ness on the road, tooting them off the road.
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.
Only the happy riders posing for a photo.
Keep on riding, keep on smiling Malawi.
I get the impression I will be seeing way more bicycles in Africa.