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.