Cuban recycling art: beautiful self made race-carts

Cubans are probably the global kings of recycling [not in our spoiled western meaning of the word though, they will happily leave their sandwich wrappers and cigarette boxes lying next to a natural pond in the middle of a national park]. it appears that they can prolong the active life of pretty much any vehicle by decennia using a welding gun and some imagination. The many custom build taxis and busses based on 1950’s american cars are the prime example of this, but there are many other examples that do not appear on you standard postcard [such as containers or chairs]. One particular area where these recycling skills are applied are children’s toys:

In a number of cities we have seen boys racing down small hills (or other slopes) on self constructed carts made from scrap wood and industrial ball bearings:

These carts are extremely beautiful in their simplicity and the kids we saw playing with hem exposed great skill in navigating them down the pothole ridden streets of Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The carts are all variations on a basic design, that consists of a wooden rectangle used as a frame. at the back of the frame there are two ball bearings on an axle and above them is a small plank to sit on. the third wheel is attached to a piece of wood that is attached mid-way to one of the sides of the wooden frame with a singe nail or screw. the piece of wood extends beyond the frame on the other side and the carts can be steered by moving the extended part of this ‘front axle’ forwards or backwards.

More images of carts and kids riding on them on my flickr account.

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