The Bicycle Diaries

Having recently become, as it were, pod-enabled, I have been looking into the vast, boiling vat of content that avails itself on the internet.  In addition to my current favourites, Stephen Fry’s podgrams, I have come across some very interesting stuff on the BBC website.

On the BBC World Service there has been a very interesting series of documentaries, and one such programme, divided into three parts, is The Bicycle Diaries.  This is well worth a listen by anybody who thinks bicycles are an important invention and that they mean more than just a machine with two wheels attached.

Not bothered about the latest carbon wheelset

Not bothered about the latest carbon wheelset

A set of three podcasts is available from the above link.  Basically, the premise of the series is to examine the effect that the humble bicycle has had on the lives of various groups of people all over the world.

The first episode is about the Velib scheme in Paris, however the second episode, far more interesting to me, is set in Kampala, Uganda, where there is a wonderful quote from a man who uses a wheelchair constructed from bicycles to get around.  He says that the main problem is mud on the road near his home –

“…and so sometimes, you can find yourself dirty.  But there’s little I can do about the weather. “

The third episode is from Delhi, where the bicycle is used for all sorts of commercial activities.  The BBC trails the series as:

“The programme explores why cyclists in Kampala are emotionally attached to their bicycles, and how the bicycle is put to various ingenious uses. As a two wheel mobile pay-phone stall, an ice-cream stall, and to transport heavy goods and passengers.”


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