Before I left a friend was teasing me about the Trek you see here, which is an old, low-end model called the Antelope. It's a bike I put together out of spare parts from the Bike Kitchen in SF, intending to leave here; and as I told everyone before I left, it was going to be a sweet bike for Nepal.
Which it is, so much so that whenever it's sitting around all sorts of Nepalis want to give it a ride down the alley or around a building. Age seems not to matter--there's been a 48-year-old man missing one front tooth on the bike, and very young kids, as you see here--though gender does, as only one girl (from the PA house) has gone for a spin. I've got numerous comments on how light the bike is, which is surprising since it weighs in excess of 30 lbs, though perhaps shouldn't be in the context of Nepal cycling, where--and only a few people will understand the gravity of this--the wheels on Indian bikes are missing lock nuts.
As I told my friend, it's not a Trek Antelope--it's an Awesome-lope, because it's awesome for where it's going, i.e. where it is now. The Trek brand carries a lot of prestige here, as do all the big American cycle brands, which makes sense when you're here. It's not that the same bike with decals that say "Ranger" or "Hercules MTB" would be esteemed less; it's that you could never find the same bike made by Ranger or Hercules.
Not one of these kids is in my class.