Bulgarian Bikes and Roma Riders

Bulgarians and bikes, push bikes that is! What a variety there is but 99% are the cheapest bikes on the market from a point that Bulgarians just can't afford designer machines. For that reason top range bike are not available in the country as there is no demand.

To the Bulgarian if a bike works and does the job and is cheap or even costs nothing that the option to take. There are those who do have cycling as a hobby, a serious hobby in some cases, I know one particular man who is a fanatic cyclist with the top bikes and gear I see him out on the Yambol highways, this is an exception to the rule. Most cyclist here ride bone shakers and the variety of homemade bikes is fantastic it is almost like watching clown riding circus bikes. The most entertaining variety of bikes are the Roma riders!

The picture is now painted of cyclists in Bulgaria and it was one evening when I was walking home when a searing clutter of metal sound was heard, the sound that makes you want to cringe. Turning back I saw a Roma on a bike with the compulsory plastic box strapped with old string on the carrier full of cardboard moving very slowly along the harsh cobbled road. The cause of the clattering was the fact that the front wheel of the bike had no tyre, he was riding on a bare metal rim. I just stopped in my tracks and stared as this Roma rider slowly clattered past me. At the same time he was staring back at me as if to say what's the problem? Mind you there was still continuous smile behind that questioning look going on into the distance.

There are more shows that go on in the Bulgarian Biking World that have to be seen to be believed, balancing acts, one bike ridden by the whole family, trailers, dog powered bikes, even a one wheeled bike with a skate board wheels fixed on the front forks. Many bikes aren't actually ridden, they are just used as baggage carriers and by golly can they carry a lot. Added to all this most bikes (apart from the new ones) don't have brakes, they rely on the Fred Flintstone method - smoking feet!

Every day a circus act is seen from Bulgarian bikes and Roma bikers - Today was a bit different and with special act on display but I still I didn't have to pay an entrance fee to see it.