Bike tours have become an increasingly popular way to vacation and see the countryside of a new place at the pace you want to set. Cycling has long been a leisure activity. It is increasingly become a mode of transportation in American cities, which are catching up with places like Beijing and Copenhagen, but meeting with mixed results. Some places are accepting of the cyclists, cities providing bike lanes, motorists looking for cyclists before making turns or opening car doors. This is not the case everywhere. In Cambridge, MA, cyclists are common and most motorists share the road respectfully. Cross the line into Boston and you’ll be met by a less considerate crew. “Get off the road” is shouted from car windows, bus drivers squeeze cyclists off the road and arguments between cyclists and motorists are seen on a daily basis. I’ve even thrown some of my own swears at motorists who considered my right of way irrelevant.
In many other countries, bicycles are a way of life. They generally aren’t for leisure; they offer a way to do the work people have always done, but more efficiently. They also allow people to see more of where they live and meet the people they share their country with, which they couldn’t do on foot alone. This understanding in mind, Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler set out on a two year journey of South Africa (funded by Kickstarter). Sure, they saw a new place in their travels, but their trip had more intent behind it. They wanted to document the impact of the bicycle in changing the quality of people’s lives.
Their project included many interviews and striking photographic portraiture that tell a story of a way of life changed by opportunity. It’s also a reminder that in many places even small opportunity costs too much. While the bicycle has helped many increasingly support themselves and their families, others have not been as fortunate.
It makes me feel bad for the two bicycles I own which see little pavement these days, knowing they could benefit someone else in a potentially life changing way.
- via Co.Design