Like me, David Byrne has visited Salvador de Bahia in Northeastern Brazil. He has [Bravo!] ridden a bike around that town. Although he didn't devote a whole chapter about his Salvador adventures in Bicycle Diaries, to me, the one about Istanbul most references what Salvador is all about. The opening lines for Istanbul could have been written about Salvador:
"Ride a bike in Istanbul? Are you nuts? Yes... and no. The traffic here is pretty chaotic and there are a number of hills... As in many other places I'm almost the only one on a bike. Again, I suspect status might be a big reason for this - bike riding, in many countries, implies poverty."
This city seemed to lack the bike lanes of Rio, and the very active bike communities of São Paulo and Curitiba. Traffic was in gridlock much of the time, and like most cities in Brazil, at night motorists do not stop at stoplights for fear of carjacking.
The brave souls I did see riding their bikes were always men who rode not alongside and with the car traffic, but often head on into the traffic, and not on the sides of the roads, but intermingled across and through the lanes. No blinky lights. No reflective clothing. No helmets. The men who were out there cycling - day or night - seemed to have nothing to lose.
In Salvador, I witnessed the aftermath of a horrible car accident with a cyclist. I also witnessed a hit-and-run with a little boy's dog.
To be quite honest, Salvador is fast developing in a bad way, high-rises spreading like fungus, and bumper-to-bumper traffic clogging most arteries. The streets at night replete with criminals and prostitutes. I really didn't want to die in this city.
And yet. I. Must. Bike. So we took to the Ciclovia.
Carlos is no longer my BF, but I do have him to thank for our loaner bikes during our stay in Salvador. [Obrigada.]
The day we biked to the beach is still a wonderful memory - maravilhosa.
I give the city of Salvador muito credit for building a separated bike lane right along the beach. (But why am I the only one using it?)
Beach + Bikes = KT is a happy girl!
We found an oasis in this sugar cane juice stand. (A common and welcome sight along the sun-drenched Ciclovia.)
Bike @ Beach.
This cute dog guarded our bikes while we took in the sea and sunshine.
Back to the Ciclovia. You'd like to see a few more shots, yes? Oi ciclistas!
Exclusively for cyclists. Way better than battling those automobiles!
And this one: Your leisure with safety. (OK, so biking isn't just a leisure activity folks! Your mode of transport and your life with safety!)
Tchau Ciclovia. Tchau Salvador. Tenho saudades de você.
But I'm happy to be home.