The short answer is no, but you can use a mamachari to get your grocery shopping home safely and without much trouble. That is if you're into cycling. Mamachari comes from Japan and is a bicycle. Just recently I learned that in the Print House in Ashwin Street in Dalson, in the building where the roof park is, a new bike shop has opened, and the curious woman I am, I had to sneak a peek. Needless to say that owner Noah and I ended up having a chat about bicycles. The poor sod had to learn everything I know about Viscount, when all he does is sell Japanese bikes. He took revenge in educating me about the mamacharis, which are Japan's everyday bicyles, for men and women alike, simple, sturdy, and forgiving. He says the Japanese took a close look at the Germans, the way they build the bikes and the value for money ratio, then went and copied it--with great success. And I must say, the bicycles have their charm. I even threatened to buy one at some point. That's the thing about cyclists or people who deal with bicycles: I feel that whatever they ride, they always get on and they always have something to natter about.
Noah's been pretty busy preparing his huge load of mamacharis for sale, servicing them--and by that I mean,
taking them apart, checking, correcting, repairing, cleaning, etc., to make sure they're safe to ride. I know that because I've watched him while we chatted. He's a decent guy who wants to share his passion for those bikes while he's re-living his time in Japan. The good thing about the mamachari is that they're of good quality, but at an affordable price and he's committed to the Japanese philosophy: everyone should be able to ride a bike, no matter how little money. All he wants is for people to have a reliable bicycle and enjoy the ride. Becoming rich doesn't seem to be on his agenda, which makes it all the more interesting to talk to him. He's also been very helpful when I showed him my slightly damaged axle from the hub I recently ... err ... worked on. Noah's a guy who likes a challenge and has a lot of experience, paired with patience. That means that there's a steady stream of people coming into his shop, whether because they're interested in the quirky Japanese bicyles, or they have a problem with their bike. He knows just as much about a 70s racing bike or a modern hybrid. I, for once, wish him that his shop and the mamacharis make it big in the UK. And, if you're ever in the area, pop in and say hi, you may even meet me there.