When we lived in Rwanda we saw very few cars aside from the hospital vans and our own ancient Land Rover. Instead, everyone biked. More interestingly, most of the locals used wooden bikes. I’m not talking about a wooden frame with a metal chain and rubber tires. I’m saying that the entire thing was wooden – polished, gleaming wood racing down the dirt road beside our car. Crates of coffee were balanced on the back of the bikes, and these guys were racing down hills with practically no brakes and definitely no helmets. It was terrifying to watch these people plummet into valleys, but the craftsmanship and just the fact that they were on wooden bikes was incredible.
While we were living at the hospital, two other expats who had mountain bikes were living there, too. They went out biking almost every afternoon after work, and at the end of their bike ride, the village kids would swarm around them. One evening, they good-naturedly got off their bikes and helped some of the kids on. I remember sitting in the hospital, watching them pushing these kids up the hill on their bikes, the kids screaming and waving their arms around. Not as cool as wooden bikes, but mountain bikes are still pretty neat, right?