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Bicitaxis

Bicitaxis

According to Wikipedia, the cycle rickshaw is a small-scale, human-powered local means of transport known by a variety of names such as bike taxi, velotaxi, pedicab or bikecab (among other names) designed to carry passengers in addition to the driver. They are widely used in major cities around the world.

Cuba is no exception, and although “bicitaxis,” as they are called here, are relatively new to the Cuban landscape (they came into being over 15 years ago with the opening of self-employments) they show unique and highly distinctive features, which make them stand out from other vehicles of their kind.

For one thing, passengers and driver establish a relationship that goes beyond their specific roles and chitchat about practically anything and everything. The driver may comment on Pitbull’s or Shakira’s latest hit, the new Immigration Law or the newest paladar in Vedado or Miramar.

Another feature is the decoration of bicitaxis, with multicolored ribbons (usually made of plastic) dangling from the handlebars, bizarre paintings on the ceiling or rear of the bike taxi, flags from different countries, sayings…you name it.

Our bicitaxis are propelled by muscle power alone, unlike some countries where these vehicles are equipped with electric motors to help the drivers. Our bicitaxis may not have motors but they do have blaring speakers with music that ranges from the latest reggaeton, to salsa, to tearjerkers.

If you want to see Cuba from a different perspective, hire a bicitaxi. It’s an unpredictable and unforgettable experience.

May 2012

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