Sunday, June 29, 2008


Americans tend to overdo things, as evidenced by supersized fries, mcmansions, the SUVs driven by people who anticipate seeing a few inches of snow a year. But I appreciate every feature of the tricked-out mountain bikes Peace Corps bought for us.

As PCVs, we’re not allowed to drive cars or ride motorcycles, so bikes are the basis of our transportation. This is perfect for Trevor, who has been a bike freak since riding to Colorado from Missouri years ago. Me, I still pine for my Honda.

Our bikes are highly coveted among Zambians, who ride one-speed Chinese models that sound like stuck-wheel grocery carts being pushed across a bumpy parking lot. Zambians never joyride like we do; their welded rebar racks are always loaded with 50-kg sacks of mealie meal, charcoal, or paying customers, generally ladies with babies, suitcases, or both.

Our bikes are unique in this country, which makes it kind of unnecessary to lock them up around town. Stealing our red Treks would be like trying to make off with an ambulance, or the Weinermobile.

Still, we get asked longingly what we plan to do with them when we leave Zambia. Uh, give them back to PC so Admin doesn’t take the price out of our resettlement allowance. We’re going to need that money for a tank of gas.

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