Taipei, August 2004.
Biking is not a popular form of transportation in Taiwan. The climate is hot and humid in summer, and tropical downpours are often a daily occurrence. The people who ride bikes seem to be the those on the margins: students, the poor. They put themselves in peril just by entering the flow of speeding cars and millions of scooters jockeying for position in the traffic stream. Now and then a courageous cyclist comes poking along, often they are cardboard scavengers.
The scavengers ride clumsy cargo tricycles, built to carry bulky loads more than for speed or maneuverability. Note the solid spokes on the wheels and the enormous lever brake.
Early in the morning the scavengers gather outside a recycling plant to cash in their gleanings. Some come on foot, some by bike, others on scooter, all towing homemade trailers overburdened with cardboard, plastic and glass recyclables.