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Katie Bonomo

Bikes on the other side of the world

At the Colorado Bicycle Summit back in February, Mikael Colville-Andersen spoke about striving for the point where bikes are like vacuum cleaners—most everyone has one, most everyone uses theirs and we don’t really feel the need to talk about them because they’re so ubiquitous.

I recently took a trip to Cambodia, and I was reminded of this analogy. Bikes are everywhere there. Though there are also tons of motorbikes and many automobiles, bikes are a very visible part of the transportation landscape.

Bikes of all shapes and sizes

Bike shops are abundant and carry a huge variety of bikes, many already equipped with baskets and/or racks.

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Traffic looks a little different, and bikes are not immune to getting stuck in traffic jams.

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Some bike “portraits”

It was hard to resist snapping photos of many of the brightly colored bikes around town—on the street, on the sidewalk, even on construction sites.

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Getting to school by bike

Students ride to school and everywhere else in their uniforms. I wish I had gotten a photo of a schoolyard parking lot that I saw. On one side were row after row of motorbikes, and on the other side, row after row of bicycles. Beautiful.

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A bike tour

The one bit of biking I got to do was a half-day tour of the Silk Islands near Phnom Penh with Grasshopper Adventures.

We began in the city for a short stretch. It was interesting to ride there. There isn’t much that we would classify as bike infrastructure, but there are so many people riding bikes that people expect them. Motorcycles and cars maneuver around people on bikes, although in many cases they cut it a little closer than I’m completely comfortable with!

After a few miles in the city, we took a ferry across the river and then had a great time rolling around some islands.

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Along the ride, we stopped a several farms, including a silk farm where a woman was spinning silk with the help of a bicycle wheel. Re-purposing at its finest.

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The bike tour was a great way to wrap things up, and it was fantastic to get to see so many people riding bikes throughout the trip.

A bonus

On the way back from Cambodia, we had a long layover in Seoul, Korea, and I caught a glimpse of their bike share system from the window of a tour bus. That got me interested in finding out how many bike share systems there are in the world. Turns out, according to bikesharingmap.com, there are more than 1,000 bike share programs in the world and more than 300 in the planning stage.

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Have you learned an interesting bike fact while traveling? Share it in the comments!

Katie Bonomo

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