Gallery: The Bread cyclists of Cairo


Cairo is a city known for its traffic congestions, multi-overpasses and noise and air pollution. But despite the fact that cars fills the space and smog fills the air in Cairo, a traditional cargo cycling scene still thrives in the inner-city streets. If you an early bird, you can start watching the bread cyclers of Cairo at 6:00 AM roaming the streets skilfully on old bicycles with a big board (or more) loaded with Eish Balady (Egyptian bread).

Those are the bread heroes who keep the bread accessible, cheap and hot. Subsidised bread is a big issue in Egypt be it the backbone of every Egyptian food table. It’s only sold through specific outlets during the working hours. So the bread delivery cyclers have a big market of employees who can’t go shopping during these hours or those who wouldn’t stand in a long line before they can by their, 5 piasters worth, loaf (0.01 € can buy 5 loaves of subsidised bread). So these delivery men work on tip-based daily wage keeping the costs of their commute at the minimum level and transporting as much loaves as they can per trip.


To a fresh eye the bread cyclers are very photogenic. They have attracted many photographers and film makers to document their story. The short film bike for bread by Dir. Claude MARTHALER and Raphael JOCHAUD was screened in bike film festival 2016. Here is a clip from the short film 

and another documentation of a french filmmaker follows a bread cycler through the streets of Cairo

photo featured in everyday Egypt by Aly Hazzaa

Author: Heba

moving gradually into cycling enthusiasm and (actually) cycling ... I come from two cities in Egypt where grown up women are not supposed to cycle and the general urban mobility culture doesn't have cycling in the menu... so I abandoned my blue bicycle at the age of 14... Ten years later, I moved to Berlin to study Urban Development and found out a "new" use of the bicycle as mobility (not only for kids, not only for men and not only for the poor). Now I am living in the Netherlands learning about cycling from the everyday commute and an internship in the Dutch Cycling embassy.

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