How Low-Income Cyclists Go Unnoticed @bicyclingmag
Jorge Diaz turned his BMX bike (shown without cart) into a convenience store.
This article first appeared in the July 2006 issue of Bicycling magazine.
Francisco Orellano wakes before sunrise. His mornings, sometimes for weeks on end, are nearly always the same. He carries his bike from his apartment to the street. Then he pedals into the dawn. He passes among other riders, who sit upright and silent, moving almost nothing but their legs, which revolve not in spinning cadences but in slow-motion circles. The riders roll forward, determined, toward some unseen destination.
Francisco looks elegant on his bike. His grey hair and moustache are neat; his striped, button-down shirt is pressed. He is proud of his appearance.
He travels the wide boulevards that lead to the shipping terminals at Long Beach, California. He passes unopened supermarkets, unilluminated car lots. Occasionally he pedals through the glow from an all-night filling station. Sometimes, as he rides, he thinks about El Salvador, where he walked to his jobs. But mostly, as he rides, he wonders whether he’ll work today.