Zambike, n.

Nshinda, Luapula, January 2014

A typical bicycle in rural Zambia, carrying bananas from the farm back to the village

Zambike, zam-byk. n. 1. A Zambian bicycle manufacturer. 2. The informal regional name for all bicycles in Zambia capable of transporting huge baskets of produce, balancing precarious stacks of reed mats, and bending but not breaking under the weight of multiple 25-kilogram bags of charcoal. Used to ferry chickens, goats, and people — two on one bike is the default, three is not uncommon. Often missing (or featuring crude jury-rigged approximations of) pedals, seats, spokes, handlebars, tires, and/or hubs. These things defy the laws of gravity, decay, and a dude named Murphy, because if there were ever a case when something could go wrong, every Zambike would be a big rusty heap of things going wrong. And yet, incomprehensibly, they somehow always manage to still keep rolling.

Zambian Colloquial Dictionary (ZCD), 2014.


This curious kitten split as soon as she realized that her playground was a moving hazard


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