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Archive for the ‘At The Bike Shop’ Category

You probably have a favourite bike shop, where you like to hang out and admire all the shiny new gear.

During April 2008, I visited Zambia, a landlocked country in southern Africa, to observe the operations of World Bicycle Relief. While I was there, I had the chance to visit a few of the local bicycle shops. I’m fairly certain these shops were like nothing you’ve seen, so here’s a look at one of them.

World Bicycle Relief is not in Africa because there are no bicycles available. There are small shops like this one in towns and cities throughout Zambia. But the quality of what is sold is so low, that the bicycles and components have little chance of surviving the hard African dirt tracks.

Many of the people who need bicycles most cannot afford to buy them, and do not have access to these bicycle shops, as they live on small farms a long way from the major towns.

But for those with some cash, this is what awaits them when they come to town. Kaleya is a small market town on the main highway that runs between the capital, Lusaka and Livingstone, which is on the Zambian side of the world famous Victoria Falls.

At Kaleya there were perhaps 25 shops, plus another 30 or so market stalls. These stalls consisted of rough wooden posts, holding up a basic roof made from timber, iron, old sacks or traditional grass thatching. They had no walls and the floor was dirt. (more…)

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