It's not a frequent occurrence to be faced with physical beauty in the form of thin, coarse pieces of paper that carry the wisdom and fantasy lands of our predecessors. We often have to go to great lengths to stumble across this phenomenon. More often than not, we run to a bike cart because we know it has kebda on it. Yes, we’re very guilty of that. However, very soon, we'll be able to pick up literary masterpieces and romance novellas from a bike cart, preferably after we've had our kebda fix! Okay, we may be exaggerating here, but we can already hear your Darth Vader-like heavy breathing, nonetheless.
As devoted book lovers, Hadeer Mansour and her business partner Mohamed, are transporting books and their tales in many genres including literature, art, history, and children's stories through the streets of Tagamoa El Khames on a modest, hand crafted bicycle cart. The bike was put together in the workshop of a local engineer, with the lower shelves cleverly created to carry children’s books, while the other books, including several in different languages, are beautifully scattered around the rest of the shelves.
If you're not a Tagamoa resident, keep your nostrils peeled anyway! You can still sniff all the books on the cart (we know those fetish-like tendencies of yours), because it only takes the ‘Book Bike’ three days to deliver anywhere in Cairo!
Mansour and Mohamed are attempting to shift that association between bike carts and street food by selling books instead. The masterpieces are collected from certified bookstores, protecting the copyrights of publishers, and then sold on their cart.
Much to your delight - and ours too - the pair aim to travel through more and more streets in Cairo to promote the culture of reading. They have seen the success of the book bike in European countries in the past, but they had never encountered the idea in Egypt. The success of the Books Bike is also supported by the delivery service it offers, since we can all agree that delivery is one of Egyptian society's obsessions.
The Book Bike Facebook page also contains short descriptions about selected books for their audience to become acquainted before purchasing.
"We wish that when the Egyptian children walk in the street, they find the culture surrounding them, enabling them to go and purchase a book with their family; and that they get used to the design of the Book Bike, as they are already familiar with the other food carts," Mohamed told Egypt Independent.
Check them out on Facebook here.