Thursday, October 9, 2008

Seriousness below the silliness

The folks over at Austin Bike Blog recently held a contest whose entrants replied to this question: "What's the biggest thing you've carried on your bike?"

Chris of Madison, Wisconsin, won:

As I looked at this picture, I found myself thinking of my bloggy friend Cordelia's recent post on turning her old Schwinn into an Xtracycle and wondering whether, if she were to do that, she would start making a little extra money on the side as a freight-hauler as, it seems, Chris could do if he were so inclined. More seriously, though, I was reminded that while this picture looks a wee bit absurd to us here in our motorized culture, in many, many places throughout the world sites like this would not seem at all so strange. In case you haven't seen them or, for that matter, known that such organizations even exist, over in the right gutter under the heading "Saving the world (NGOs with a focus on bicyclists and cycling)," I've posted links to some NGOs whose mission is to either build or refurbish bicycles and get them to people in Africa to use for transportation and business (also noteworthy is Kona's AfricaBike program, which donates specially-designed bicycles to doctors in sub-Saharan African communities to allow them to more efficiently serve their communities).

Cycling, for many people (whether they know it or not), is (or can be) a practical means of transportation. But for many parts of the world, a bike is more than practical--it's essential.

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