Saturday, February 18, 2012

GOATS ON BICYCLES IN AFRICA

For millions of people in Africa walking is the only source of transportation. Having a bicycle certainly make's life easier! There are many projects underway to collect surplus bicycles and send them to the areas where they are needed most. Check out the Village Bicycle Project on Face Book here.

A woman in Ghana whose life has been transformed by The Village Bicycle Project. Read more here.

Now to get back to the goats ...... Call me weird (and many people do), but I collect images of goats on bicycles in Africa. For some reason they really tickle me. Here in South Africa it's not unusual to see bicycles loaded with all manner of objects and livestock. I can remember as a child when the family went out for a Sunday drive my mom often pointed out bicycles laden to the hilt ... saying "Do you see how lucky you are kids? You could be driving into the country on my handlebars if we didn't have a car". Of course at that stage in our lives we rather liked the idea of riding out into the country on someones handlebars.


Baby on Board, Namibia.


Throughout Africa bicycles are modified for different applications. Contraptions, trailers or wagons are added for ambulance services (above), or border hopping delivery services (below).

Tanki Mohapeloa talks about his Cross-border Transport Service... "I can carry a bed with this wagon ... from Lesotho to South Africa". Read about a Cape Town project here.

"On the border of Lesotho we found a few industrious guys like Tanki Mohapeloa selling their cross-boarder transport services to people who don't see the need to go through border control just to deliver goods to family and friends on the other side. Tanki and his colleagues can cross the border on their modified bicycles many times a day without problems - everyone there knows them well..." - Stan Engelbrecht

Read about FABIO, another bicycle related program here.

63 comments:

  1. unbelievable what people can do with a bicycle. I've often thought that bikes were one of the greatest inventions, this verifys that idea

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  2. transport public.. les chèvres et le canapé.. extra, mais ces bêtes me font un peu pitié...

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  3. Amazing people. One does what one needs to do. Goats are so interesting. They can climb the rockiest crags and not fall. I am sure they are not a bit stressed being toted down the road on a bike.

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  4. marvelous photos. the bike campaign is interesting too. in this area kids abandon bikes everywhere if it ( the bike)develops some problem. there is a man in the country near our town who gathers them up or gets when police take them in . he repairs then puts in his front yard for someone to take. I guess this is a small scale version of the one you describe! there are some good people remaining in this world!

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  5. this is amazing! I knew about some of the ambulance bicycles. hadn't thought of a piggy back goat though.
    Sandy in the uk

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  6. Thank you Robyn for my big smiles this morning! I am always amazed at how creative folks can be when they need to accomplish something and have so little. YAY to that African spirit - and to all those smiles they have on their faces.

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  7. Amazing. I've seen a dog, with helmet, riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle before, but never goats...or other farm animals...on a bicycle. Only in China have I seen such overloaded bikes and even then it seemed surreal.

    Thanks for sharing these with us. Enjoy! Jennifer

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  8. Thnks Robyn, we have no right to complain about anything... not one single, teeny tiny thing... that's ingenuity, perseverance and determination... my kind of people.

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  9. Thanks for my morning smile. I am sending a link to my family who ride bikes in city traffic.

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  10. Reminds me of my years in Greece. I was always amazed at what could go up steep mountain roads on a small moped - several people and a goat or construction supplies! The transportation of the couch is pretty amazing. I love the empowered look of the woman in Ghana in the second photo, and the project sounds great. (and BTW, my mother says I;m wierd, but she's also come to understand how interesting that is!)

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  11. How beautifully the photos captured the spirit of the people.

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  12. Wonderful post. As a life-long long-distance cyclist I simply adore the images and creative use.
    I hope you don't find it cheeky when I plug for this amazing group: http://www.fabio.or.ug

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  13. I had no idea goats could hold on like that? I travelled in Ghana many years ago and loved watching the well loaded bikes. I live in Minnesota a big bicycling state for many years my bike was my major form of transportation but I was certainly never clever enough to carry much more then myself and a few packs. I love these photos and the ingenuity of these people. Thanks again!

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  14. I certainly am ignorant or at least naive -have never seen such a thing but love it and feel the naturalness of it. What an interesting country you live in! I live in a big bicycling state, too,(Vermont) due to rural backroads, etc. Maybe someday I'll have a glimpse of some creative version like these. Thanks for sharing in a big way.

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  15. Wow, this is great! I've gotten to see a few interesting bicycle loads in my travels too. Saw several hand pedaled bikes in India for disabled as well.
    Nice collection.
    xoxo Kim

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  16. amazing post Robyn,thank you!!xo

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  17. How creative humanity can get when pushed to its limit and luxury is far away. I admire the spirit!

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  18. Ha! and i thought myself clever coming in off the trails with wildflowers or driftwood, a tiny blue crab in my hoodie pocket last summer.

    But you know they are in great shape to be able to balance. I find such joy on a bike. Handlebar rides yes please.

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  19. i love goats and bikes...well, i never thought to combine them... anyway, i am amazed by these photos. i have carried lots of stuff on my bike, but never a goat. or a couch.

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  20. Amazing photos Robyn. I never imagined bikes could carry so much....I think my favorite is the rider carrying the red couch....just makes me chuckle and the big smile on the face of the chap carrying the goat on his back...what a charming man is he!

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  21. I saw little baby goats - kids, tiny things, jumping around in a field yesterday. Spring can't be too far off.

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  22. These are such heart-warming shots. I am ashamed of our throw-away culture. The sofa shot is going to keep on making me smile!

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  23. Fascinating!! Thanks for sharing the photos and info. Robyn.

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  24. Wow! That the goats hang on just kills me! Too funny. I loved seeing all of the pictures and the ways they have used their bikes for work and family transportation. But the goats!

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  25. We have a bicycle project on here at the moment for sending to Africa. I didn't have a bike to give them but I did have a Singer hand sewing machine in perfect condition and they took that. I hope some lady somewhere over there finds it transforms her life. Brilliant idea to collect all these things.

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  26. Fantastic shots, I rode a bike for years, also managed to put my foot in the wheel of my mothers bike during the war when she was taking me shopping. Made an awful mess of ligaments etc I was 3 or 4, luckily dont remember much but the fuss. Still have the scar and lumpy bits.

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  27. what a worthy cause...thanks for highlighting the bike project. I am mesmerized by the goat photos too..please show more of your collection...i find them irresistible and the couch transported on a bike...how innovative!

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  28. Thankyou for this! Am sending the link to my Pa, who loves his bicycles!

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  29. I love goats and bikes too, but have never seen both of them combined! Love it!!!
    Amazing what one can achieve with a bicycle...that one with the couch really tickled my fancy. Riding home proud as punch with the lovely new red couch for the home! Priceless.

    Jacky xox

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  30. R- the ingenuity of necessity - just brilliant both in terms of what people do and the images captured and shared. Makes one realise just how much we have. Go well. B

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  31. I echo what Judy said. This is amazing and I adore goats, they look so happy and calm. Wonderful post.
    xoxo

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  32. Oh Robyn...these images are delightful...a testament to human ingenuity! Who knew goats could be o agreeable?

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  33. e x t r a o r d i n a r y.....ingenuity via necessity, creative minds and great balance!
    the freedom of two wheels was in a simple way a big deal to both my husband and i as we grew up in the country, me on a dirt road with few people around,,,,and the joy of 'hitting that road' on my bike was exhilarating!

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  34. Goats and bikes,,,who knew!
    Certainly not me, but I've been called weird too.
    I wear it as a badge of honor.
    :-)
    Fascinating post, as always!

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  35. I really enjoyed your photos - it's incredible how much you can get on a bike! Here in Malaysia we often see gardeners with their lawnmowers strapped to the back and then there are the street vendors who have mini shops attached - must snap them someday!

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  36. I saw a lot of people, bicycling there, in Kenya. I still hear their bicycles ringing... They carried mainly tubes for water, sometimes huge piles of tubes that I wondered how were not falling. I have just two photos of the kind, they are not that interesting as yours, but I'll send them to you! Oh, Robyn, thank you for this post and for "The African Aesthetic" one! You probably have no idea, but with them you maintain the African spirit alive in me! I'm remembereing my stay in Kenya every day, especially when I'm thursty for colours and warmth like a contarst to the severe winter we have!

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  37. Oh, I forgot to say that bicycles are used as a taxi in Kenya. Maybe you know this, but I was impressed. They have a special upholstered seat and I admired how people were sitting there without any effort, as if the roads were smooth (which they were not!)Women even looked graceful!

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  38. I will never look at a bicycle the same way again. thanks Robyn

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  39. What a delightful post! And, I agree with Gwen regarding our right to complain. Thank you!

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  40. Thank you so much for posting this. What resourceful happy people. It also makes me realise how lucky I am.

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  41. We just don't realise how lucky we are in the west. Thank you for this:)
    xx

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  42. love
    the goats on bikes
    love
    your sensibility
    to gather and post...

    I am
    missing Africa,

    xox - eb.

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  43. I just so enjoyed the pix, Robyn, heartwarming posting, thx! xo

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  44. brilliant shots and i especially love the couch-on-bicycle. but i wonder just how comfy it is, being a goat with legs tied together across the chest of your transporter?

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  45. Uh oh...Now I'm going to be worrying about those poor goats with their hips displaced...poor things...
    But I have been looking for a red couch...

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  46. Oh! Your goats on bicycles is such a wonderful post. Each photograph is so charming, especially the smiles of the people riding the bikes. And that red couch, so misplaced like it fell out of the sky!
    roxanne

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  47. Wonderful post Robyn!
    images from your vast and extraordinarily culturally rich continent often arrive on pages of either stunning coffee table books, brochures for epic travel possibilities, glorious hotels that do look a little pricy ...or... sobering TV news or fund-raising campaigns for epic issues. Ends of the spectrum... luxury or unrelenting gross hardship!

    I really appreciate glimpses from your blog Robyn... images which convey people in their everyday world.

    Interesting that there are now serious campaigns in 'affluent' parts of the world dedicated to bringing back the use of the bicycle to more than lycra-clad fanatics... to get us out using our legs, hearts and lungs... away from seats and air-conditioning! And they are motivated by the ruined health that is a legacy of affluent societies.

    Think I best get my bike out...its been while!

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  48. fantastic -

    I hope they get heaps of bikes..

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  49. Awesome shots! I've never seen before, that someone has transported a couch on a bike. That's friggin' unbelievable! Thanks for this gorgeous post, Robyn.

    Gaby xo

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  50. Thanks for leaving comments everyone! I've been off line for a few days while my computer has been in the shop for a virus that ate everything in sight but all is well again.

    The goats have had a lot of attention on my blog and on Tumblr but I must add that they are actually tied onto the bike or the rider's back like a satchel which can't be very comfortable for the poor goat. In Greytown a few miles from where I live, this is quite a common sight. The goats don't seem to be distressed .... but I do wonder.

    We also see cows in the trunks of cars as well as livestock on the roof racks (especially on our trips to the Eastern Cape) It's something we have become accustomed to. The SPCA rushes around trying to stop it but life carries on the same way it has for decades.

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  51. The tying on of the goats is a revelation. In my admittedly anthropomorphic thinking, I envisioned the goats as self-gripping. Amazing how we see what we want to see. Slapping my forehead with a big "geez, get real, Laura!," over here.

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  52. Ah! I also was thinking the goats were so adorably hanging on to their drivers! I also had totally skipped over the fact that they are being taken to market - I'm pretty sure it's not because they want to go shopping. Forehead slap, indeed, accompanied by the exclamation: "Idiot!"

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  53. I have to admit that of all the sights and images I have seen of Africa.. I have never seen goats or sofas being transported by bikes.. can not even imagine being able to balance a sofa! had not thought about how important a bicycle would be.. amazing eye opener Robyn.

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  54. Wow!
    A lot of these laden bikes remind me of India, although I have never seen either a goat or a couch on a bike!

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  55. Very informative article..Nice post..Keep writing ..

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