14ymedio, Havana, 23 January 2016 – In the nineties nearly three million bicycles were distributed in Cuba, imported mainly from China. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic crisis suffered by Cuban society had a very negative impact on oil supplies and passenger transportation. The streets filled with cyclists, with bike-only paths, and parking lots where this alternative transport was kept, along with an informal network of spare parts sellers and bike repairers.
There were also all sorts of devices to adapt bikes to carry several family members, to carry small children, and haul goods and protect them from being stolen. With the passing of years, many of these ingenious inventions have fallen into disuse thanks to the upturn of the economy and the arrival of a steady supply of fuel. Not it is difficult to find a bike parking lot in Havana and none of the special paths created for them on the main avenues remain.
However, bikes remain the transportation of the poorest. With them they go to work, find food, and even carry every kind of object: a mattress – like in the photo – a suitcase, a shaky row of cartons filled with eggs.