Just after sunrise the streets of Dar es Salaam start waking. At first, small groups of people move about in the twilight and it’s hard to clearly make them out against the road and lush vegetation. By their stride you can tell that some of the bags and bundles weigh heavily on their heads and must be cumbersome to manage over longer distances.
You rarely see a cyclist with any sort of lamp to alert the traffic or pedestrians of their presence or speed of approach; and there’s plenty of them too, loaded up with kids, drums of milk, bundles of firewood, baskets of fish and the like. It’s a surprise I haven’t seen too many accidents really, but in fairness the traffic is accommodating of slower and overloaded vehicles.
Strangely though, observing the riding posture gives one the impression that they are atop unicycles rather than the standard two wheeled contraptions. The handlebars are up high and styled after a Harley-Davidson, the rider’s back straight and vertical and the saddle mounted almost directly over the crank; if you’re lucky enough to witness three or four one after the other, logically the mind may conclude that a Russian circus bear would be next – only the clown music is missing.