MACHETES, CHICKENS, AND BIKE CHECKS
Barra de Potosi is a small Mexican fishing village tucked into a nook where an expansive lagoon meets the Pacific Ocean. As with any area dependent on the commerce generated by fishing, there have been years of financial struggle for the people who live there. The Red Cross rebuilt the village after a Tsunami all but wiped it out in 1985. Since then, the community has proven resilient against international developers, global warming, pollution and many other threats to their way of life.
While cars and trucks are seen on the narrow dirt roads of the village, the majority of Barra de Potosi's residents prefer bikes as a vehicle. Surprisingly, in a place where there is so much need, and people have so little, there is no bike theft. Bikes are hardly ever locked up and, instead, are amicably shared – practices that have developed organically into a bike co-op of sorts. These rides are not chosen by discipline, size or fit, only for the purpose of getting where you need to go. It is common to see adults commuting on children's bikes and kids pedalling by on frames so big for them that they cannot sit on the seats. Most impressive are the customizations that are designed by purpose. Plastic milk crates are commonly attached for carrying supplies and wares, drop bars are turned upright for a more 'comfortable' ride and homemade holsters attach machetes to the frame (or donkey).
In this modern-day meets rural village where hydro is hijacked to power televisions inside homes constructed with palm fronds, bikes are used for their most simplified intention; transportation. More than anything else, riding builds their community. Greetings are regularly exchanged as people commute to work, drop their children off at school and run errands. It takes only a day or two of being a part of this kind of gridlock traffic before you feel like one of the locals and an extension of their society; it takes even less time to be humbled by this village's appreciation for the simplicity of bikes.