Written by Stephen Glass
As a lifelong cyclist and a mechanic for most of my adult life, whether conscious or not, I can’t help but to evaluate each bike I encounter (I’m sure many can relate): type, make, color, components, accessories, and the overall condition. For me each of these facets adds to the unique story every bike holds, from the mundane to the adventurous. Although habitual in my daily life, I find this process particularly intriguing when traveling.
While on a recent trip to Quintana Roo in Mexico, I photographed some of what I encountered in the “wild.” There were familiar brands, but many were new to me or brands that I’ve not encountered in the states.
The bikes were generally utilitarian in nature, being used by maintenance crews, vendors and as transportation for locals and tourists alike. With a few exceptions the bikes were generally single speed, coaster brake bikes outfitted with a rack and/or basket. It wasn’t uncommon to see bikes fitted with BMX pegs to make carrying a passenger less cumbersome.
Most were in poor condition with rotting tires and rusted components and chains. I did see a number of folding bikes (likely under tourists), but there wasn’t much in the way of performance, or recreation specific bikes to be found.
In two weeks, I saw only three carbon road bikes. Interestingly there were a number of ebikes around (not photographed), where a year earlier I saw none.
The condition of most bikes in the Yucatan speaks to a rough existence, yet one that shows how vital they are to daily life.