Monday, 8 December 2008

Friday, 5 December 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Bicycles to Africa

I want to present you another very interesting project.

It is coming from Denmark and has the following name: Baisikelis.

Baisikelis philosophical starting point is social innovation: to make a difference for people and to give them the possibility of developing professionally and socially. It is based on the belief that the best foreign aid is based on a regular commercial market. A purely subsidized development project will make the African partners completely dependent of donations from other countries.

A solid support in the education and start-up phase, on the other hand, is necessary for enabling the African cooperation partners, the upcoming bicycle mechanics and future entrepreneurs to support themselves.

Check their webpage and inspire yourself!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Bike Town Africa

Rita called in the morning and said there were some bike people in her office.

Immediately she catches all my attention. It is not difficult. You just have to mention the B word. They were distributing bikes to several persons in Chókwè.

Sadly I was in Maputo and could not meet the persons. She later told me that they were from a project called Bike Town Africa.

A crew of volunteers were preparing to assemble 250 bikes that later were to be distributed in order to to increase the mobility of workers that give nutritional and medical support to AIDS sufferers in Africa.

You can learn more about Bike Town Africa. Read the stories about the trip to Mozambique here and here.

Photos from Just This In Blog - Bicycling

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Our Bikes

You have asked for them. Here you have our bikes.

Rita has a Sawan and I have a Hamilton. Both are bicycles Made in India.

Mozambican stores sell these bikes and here in Chókwè you have hundreds of people with these models pedaling on the streets.

Youngsters prefer the BMX and the racing styles. Older persons and people that work in the agriculture fields prefer the classical model.

It's the Mozambican Cycle Style.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Police on bikes

Recently some European and North American countries have launched police bike patrols. In Portugal, my homeland, most of the medium and big cities have this and the media is always talking about the advantages of bike patrols. Mozambique has also police on bikes. They make communitarian surveillance and the bikes and training were offered by the USA. Here, a photo taken from the newspaper, they look very modern and ready to pedal and get the bad guys. I would love to see them on the streets.

Two bicycles in Xai-Xai

Two bicycles in Xai-Xai, very near to the train station. Note that one has a poster saying: "Cuidado Comigo", which means "Be careful with me" or "Don't mess with me".

This message always intrigued me as it can have these two different meanings. It can say: "hey drivers, be careful with me as I am more fragile than you". In Portuguese "Cuidado Comigo" it also can pass the message of a empowered cyclist that is not afraid to take his/her place on the street and affirm him/her self.

At least, it is sure that he/she is communicating with other road users. This is one of the most import things to do while cycling. Communicate, communicate, communicate. It is something very basic to every human being.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Swaziland Cycling Culture

This weekend we went to The KingdomSwaziland and South Africa, two very beautiful countries close to Mozambique. In Swaziland I did not saw so many cyclists. I believe it is because the country is full of big mountains. Yet some people use it and here is a small exhibition of Swaziland Bike Culture. Did you know that this is one of the smallest countries in Africa?

I will post soon the pictures of South Africa.

A fabulous classical blue bicycle.

Full equipped mountain bikes to cycle in Milwane Natural Reserve. Cycle and see the zebras, impalas, crocodiles, gnus and hippos.

Taking the bicycle by the hand across the typical huts.

A parked cargo bicycle in Manzini.

Cycling by the sugar cane plantations.

Down the road.

Sometimes it is better to take the bicycle by the hand and enjoy the surroundings.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Sunday, 21 September 2008

There is always a solution

Rita was going to church and noticed that the tires of her Queen Bike were flat. She returned and used my bike.
On the floor, some small mango fruits. The big ones will be ready to eat in December.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Blue sky, never ending road...

And one bicycle.
So perfect. So simple.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The wonderful bicycles of Maputo

I am back after some time without posting here. Sorry to all the readers.

So I come back with some photos of people cycling in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The city is noise, chaotic and the drivers are not like in Europe. Here you can see all kind of behaviors and overtaking from right or left. Mozambican drivers tend to be very impatient and don't like slow driving. So everything is allowed to get a bit further.

But Maputo has very quiet roads all across the city, usually parallel to the big avenues, that a cyclist can take to avoid the main roads packed with traffic.

You see not so many cyclists as in other small cities, but there are some courageous people. And not all are local people. You can see, from time to time, "molongos" (white people as they say in dialect). Unfortunately I still don't have a photo of that.

So... enjoy these photos of Maputo cyclists.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Cycle taxists in Mozambique

For the Portuguese readers I suggest the following article that tells about the bicycle taxis community in Quelimane, a city in Zambézia province. It says that the bicycle is the transport more used to carry passengers and merchandize. In a city without public transports the bicycle is the queen. Since 2002 the cycle taxists community has significantly increased and many families have a monthly contract/subscription for the use of this transport.

Moçambique para Todos Blog has published more about it. Read the entire article here and here and see other great photos.

The two photos above are not from the cycle taxists, but just show other examples of how people can manage over here. The first photo shows two boys coming from school and the second photo shows an adult (maybe the father) carrying two children also from school in Inhambane province.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Rastafari Festival in Xai-Xai

I have taken these photos some time ago, but just now remembered to post it. I was in Xai-Xai and the city was welcoming a Rastafari Festival. There was a good vibe with lots of reggae music, dance and vegetarian food. These two guys have traveled from Maputo to Xai-Xai (more or less 230km) with their gingas. Ginga is the name Mozambicans give to their bicycles. I believe the name is also used in Portugal. Can you confirm?

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Classic style in Chókwe

At the local university in Chókwè style over speed.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Better together

Sunset at Macarretane is magic. Bicycles crossing the bridge while the light fades away. Women carrying wood and water on their heads. Hippos in the river.

Two in a bicycle is so often seen. Three is also common. Better together.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

More pics of Niassa - Mozambique

Andreas Martins has some amazing pictures on his PhotoCommunity webpage. Please check his work. These two pictures show the north of Mozambique (Niassa Province) where the mountains are breathtaking! Again bicycles are a part of everyday life, of every activity. Let me say that bicycles fit the picture so perfectly. I could not imagine to be other way.

There are more bicycles - but is there more development?

Há Mais Bicicletas - mas há Desenvolvimento?
There are more bicycles - but is there more development?

This is the name of the book from Joseph Hanlon and Teresa Smart launched in Maputo on the 12th of August.

The book explores the economic situation of Mozambique and presents a critic vision on development. It also makes the connection between the use of bicycles and its role on development. Especially in the centre and north provinces a bicycle is more than just a vehicle. It is a way of creating financial income for the families. A possibility of creating a business, of having a job, of being the boss, making income.

The authors reveal that the number of bicycles has doubled and this fact is seen as a development signal.

Bicycles are a gift for the poor.


Since it was created in 11 August 2008, The Mozambique Bike Culture Blog was visited by 209 persons. Many thanks to all and continue checking the pictures and texts. Please leave your comments. Your remarks have been so positive and so strength giving.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

It's Summer Time - Chongoene Beach

It's Summer time and the weather is hot. At least in Europe. Here in Mozambique the hotter days are still to arrive. October, November and December are the month with high temperatures.

This bike seamed abandoned in Chongoene beach. Off course it was not abandoned. A bicycle in Mozambique is a very unique treasure and families plan their lives to have one. No one abandons a bike. Everyone wishes to have one. And the true is that the number of bicycles in Mozambique has doubled. A book was launched the past week and stated this information. I will post more about the book and the increase of cyclists.

Monday, 18 August 2008

School Day - Cycling Day

Today was school day. The academic calendar is different from Europe and classes are still going on. Many students cycle home to school. Everyday is a cycling day for the lucky ones.

If you don't have a bicycle you can walk one hour or more just to go to school.

With the uniforms they look very handsome. Trousers or skirts, shoes or snickers, white shirts and ties.

It's lunch time and with a bike everything becomes much quicker. You can also stop anytime and check what is going on the other side of the road or have a little chat with a friend.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Stoping for a picture

I was coming home with my camera and lost all the shame and just asked: "Good afternoon, can I take you a picture?" The answer was positive and here is the result.

Mozambicans are very friendly and immediately another man stopped and said: "Can you take me also a picture?" No was an impossible word. I had to wait until he was prepared with the radio he took from the jacket. More style and happiness are impossible.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Bananas on Bikes

Two men carrying bananas and caniços (a kind of sticks that are used to build houses, fences and roofs). A bike can be a very helpful tool of transport and to transport goods. People here use theirs bikes proudly. Like in Copenhagen they make them personal. Some times they even give it names. A new bike costs around 2600 meticais (more or less 50 euros), an amount that is very much to most of families’ incomes. Therefore a bike is sometimes a medium and long time wish and families try to save some money to buy it.

Riding in Chókwè

Chókwè is a very nice city to live and a quiet place for bikes. Everyday hundreds of cyclists flood the streets like ants going to do their jobs, playing their roles. Many women go to sell fruit and vegetables in the market or going to take care of the small farms where the tasteful papayas, tomatoes, lettuces and corn. You can find all types of bikes. Even some race and BMX bikes! I would like to post some photos of it soon. Here you can see two cyclists at the Independence Square very near to the water channel that brings water from the Limpopo River to the agriculture fields. Women just are so stylish riding their bikes with the capulanas skirts!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Family bike

On the road to Zongoene beach, a father and his son stand on the side of the sand road and let us pass. Everyone is very friendly and wave to to us with a simple and authentic smile. Children just love to see the white people. They say: "Molungo!" It means "white" in the local dialect. On the 45m journey we see many lovely villages and lots of bikes. In these remote villages a bicycle can realy make the difference. Going to the market to sell fruit, wood, clothes, vegetables, carring a elder person to the hospital, going to see the family in another vilage, going to school or work.

This is the first photo of The Mozambique Bike Cukture Blog where I would like to picture the everyday cycling in Mozambique. Keep checking this blog. I would love to receive your comments.