As a child in the early sixties, your bicycle was your lifeline. It got you to school, to the swimming pool, to your friends and of course back home again. It also was a way to transport your friends or for your friends to transport you! But time marched on, rules came in and two on a bike is rarely seen back home.
What a treat to see that the bicycle and all it's romance is alive and well here in Nicaragua! It is used for daily chores of course, like transporting a bundle of wood or propane tank for cooking but here it is still one of the more popular modes of transport. It is the way many "move" their family with usually one passenger but often more.
It is so tender to see a young family going past, mom on the crossbar, child on her knee and dad peddling. When they reach their destination for mom, she hops off, gives dad a kiss goodbye and away he goes. One day we saw a family smoothly navigating the streets and initially thought that there were only three on the bike but as they got closer we noticed that there was a baby, perhaps 5 months or so, perched safely in front of mom on the handle bars, daughter between mom and dad, and dad providing the power. Guess there really is a "bicycle built for four!"
It is also a blend of the old with the new. Last night as we strolled Calle Calzado, we noticed a young couple all dressed up (possibly heading to the wedding we had just seen at Hotel Dario) go past us. As they went by I noticed that she was very comfortably perched sidesaddle on the crossbar, "texting" with both hands on her cell phone.
Some are very inventive also! We saw a young boy and girl on their bike and noticed that he was peddling rapidly, but there was no chain. His companion who was standing on the back axle would give them a push whenever needed. Good thing many streets here have a slight slope to them.
Back parcel carriers are also not only for parcels. We quite often see an older woman from our neighbourhood giving her disabled husband a ride on it. Guess this is more practical and more cost effective than a taxi! Definitely safer than the crossbar!!!