Who said bicycles are just for riding?
People, bananas, wood.
In Tanzania bicycles are important to transport all kinds of goods. I am always amazed to see what people can load onto bicycles here in Tanzania, every time I think I have seen it all, I am proved wrong.
Originally people used bicycles to get from one place to another. Then they were used as taxis and in towns like Tanga on the coast there are many bicycle taxis around. This is a very cheap way to go around town and get a different perspective of the surroundings. A journey of 1-2 km will cost something like $1.
Things evolved with time and people started transporting much more than just other people. The town of Mto wa Mbu in northern Tanzania is known as the banana village; almost 30 different kinds of bananas are sold daily in the local markets.
That is a common sight to see people carrying up to 6 bunches of bananas on the back of their bikes, heading to the market.
Sometimes a bicycle is the only way to get products out of the farms and to the markets, as roads are non-existent. Although now people are importing used mountain bikes which are good for off-road riding.
It is always a treat to see the new ideas some people come up with for transporting goods on bicycles. I have seen people carrying furniture, water buckets, fire wood, livestock, building material as well as bulk food stuffs.
In the cities bicycles are slowly being replaced by motorbikes. Most of the bikes come from China and India with Phoenix being the most famous brand. Buying a new motorbike would set you back between $70 and $100. Still, bicycles play an important role in Tanzanians day to day lives.
More and more bicycle tours are offered to tourists. This is a great way to get some exercise and have a completely new experience whilst visiting the country.