The Bikes of Varanasi

VARANASI, India — Bicycles here are put to work.

Whether as a rickshaw or a stand-in for a school bus, bicycling in Varanasi is more utilitarian than recreational, a distinction my friend Josh in Jakarta highlighted during my mountain-biking days in New Mexico.

In the States, we call them pedicabs, and on Varanasi’s city streets, bicycle rickshaws seemed popular. I also saw them being used to transport a load of bricks, wedged against the frame, as well as a tiny bundle of twigs on a rear rack.

They also get their rest, hanging above doorways, waiting for their owners beside on the ghats or just propped up against a wall.

Only in Amsterdam had I seen more bikes, though that’s a pretty high bar to beat.

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Cows cause Varanasi rush hour.

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One thought on “The Bikes of Varanasi

  1. I still can’t get over your amazing photos. Where do you hide these and why are they not wallpapering our house? I LOVE the twig one. Seems like something Beebo would do.

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