Self Determined Participatory Action of Marginalized Groups: The streets of São Paulo

critical bike madness

/yesterday we were downtown for some buzzyness
(actually no buzzynessness for me but for a great, critical and
interesting fest that is organized by a group of lady bugz, more on
that soon). /one blatant difference between there and other parts of
the city is the high occurence and density of bikes, no conventional
bikes but super nice bakfietsen.
/this is interesting because the city usually seems to provide many
challenges for the ambitioned cyclist who wants to use his or her bike
just for normal transit.

/the main factors that
make cycling an adventure, as mentioned by cyclists and as one can
imagine if one strolls on the sidewalks, are: the hills and mountains
in the city, sometimes monster steep, no mountainbike – no fun; the
lack of bicycle lanes: there are some at the aerport Garulhos and Avenida Paulista and it is
said that the city offers altogether only 30km of bicycle lanes; the nortorious car, bus, truck and motorbike traffic, for whom cyclists are just no traffic and invisible; only limited access to the metro lines with bikes
– during the week from 20:30h until the last train – on Saturdays from
14:30h until the last train – on Sundays and holidays the whole day –
bikes can only be transported in the last waggon of the train, which is
suitable for a maximum number of just 4 bikes.

back to the bakfietsen: one of the reason of their high occurence in
the city center, one could imagine, could be the high concentration of
businesses and shops there, and the relatively flat ground which favours
the use of cargo bikes for fast and cheap transport between the various
spots in the center./now I wonder who constructed them coz I want to make one as well. /this could also mean that in a city with such
unfavourable bike attributes, one can find specialized usage of bikes
in small areas but normally not in the whole city.

 cargo bikes, downtown

/last but not least some words about the brave non-specialized cyclists: São Paulo seems to have a regular roling Bicicletada (Critical Mass)
on every last Friday of the month. /the next one takes place on Friday
the 28th of May. /in São Paulo exist a womens bike movement as well,
called Pedalinas. They
make technixx workshop and form their critical mass evey first Saturday
at 14h. Among biking, there exists an equal important discourse about the roles of men and women bikers.

 cargo bikes, downtown cargo bikes, downtown

Category: diary


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