Street Use

Bikes of Burden

Designed to move people, bicycles and motorbikes are actually used to move almost anything that can be moved. In my travels in Asia I’ve seen bikes piled impossibly high with all manner of cargo, from livestock to cardboard. It’s really astounding what a bike can balance and transport. Dutch photographer Hans Kemp has focused his lens on the motorbike cargo culture of Vietnam. He’s gathered his collection of 148 examples of the unintended cargo of motorbikes into a very finely printed photobook, called naturally enough, Bikes of Burden. Here are a few examples from his book, which is also available on Amazon.

Bike Burden3
It’s a remarkable living zoo of chickens and ducks on the way to the market.

Bike Burden2
When the ducks are tiny they are taken to farms in smaller cages. Then farmers will raise the ducklets.

Bike Burden1
This guys sells music cassett tapes and offers a tiny hi-fi set to test them out and also serve as an advertisement. Of course the tapes are all pirated.

Posted on September 25, 2006 at 9:37 pm | comments

  • Kevin Kelly

    Steve and Michael, thanks for the flickr photos. And Alex, yes, post some of the bike contraption.

  • michael

    After Bird flu in VN, you don’t see any farmers taking their birds to market on motorbikes anymore. Live poultry is no longer sold in the markets.
    Just about anything else is carried on bikes and motorbikes though

    I have some other examples at these links:
    Karaoke bike
    elf bike
    101 dalmatians bike
    pinwheel bike

  • What a great idea for a book! Here’s a couple of flickr images I’ve got along the same theme

  • When I was in the archipelago off Stockholm earlier this year, I noticed that the people used a really cool motorbike conversion for this sort of thing. I’ll probably have to blog a photo or two, but essentially the bottom of the front fork is chopped and welded to a crossbar, which is supported on the axle from a little trailer or wheelbarrow, with the wheels at each end. Two bracing rods run back from the corners to the seat post. One of the wheels is permitted to castor, and the other steered by a rod connected to the bottom of the old fork.

    The front wheel brakes are connected by a crank to the old front brake handle. The old headlight is remounted under the load-carrying deck at the front of the vehicle. And you’re done.