British and London-based photographer Kit Oates recently (and bravely) traveled to Tanzania to discover the stories behind the biker gangs who roamed the streets trying to make a living from their Toyo’s – the motorbike of choice in the area.
"I spent the summer of 2013 in Sub-Sarahan Africa, shooting for an American travel company. I kept seeing bikers on the streets and in the villages, and I wanted to get to know more and find out their story. I ended up spending several days hanging out and travelling with these guys in the suburbs of Arusha, one of Tanzania’s largest tourist towns."
For many Tanzanian’s the Toyo bike is the obvious solution when it comes to traversing the rough local terrain, narrow paths and broken rubble that many conventional cars would have difficulty moving through. The affordable bike is imported from China and is now acts as a vital form of transport in both rural and impoverished areas. For many drivers, they serve as a regular source of income by acting as taxi’s whisking tourists across town for a minimal fee.
Worryingly though, few riders have a licence or even adequate training, bike related injuries are both common and numerous. It’s often the case that local families own a single Toyo and each generation is then pressured to help make a living from riding it – at the expense of their own safety and those around them.
You can see more compelling images from Kit’s unique experience and delve deeper into the characters, stories and tales behind the Tanzanian biker gangs via his official website: http://www.kitoates.com/index.php?/tanzanian-biker-gangs/