The World’s Ride

The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.
– William Saroyan

India

It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the
perfection of the bicycle was the greatest event of the nineteenth century.

Afghanistan

Tahiti

Cambodia

Bangladesh

 The first real grip I ever got on things
Was when I learned the art of pedaling
– Seamus Heaney

West Bengal, India 

China

Cambodia

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.
– H.G. Wells

Afghanistan

A bicycle does get you there and more… And there is always the thin edge of danger to
keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs
again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal.
And getting there is all the fun.
– Bill Emerson, On Bicycling, Saturday Evening Post, 1967

Morocco

The Bicycle
Haiku
Wheels  carry me from
Youth to middle to old age
Never complaining
– K. Earle

Cambodia

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.
– John F. Kennedy

Lebanon

Kabul, Afghanistan

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.
Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.
Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.

– Iris Murdoch

India

Afghanistan

I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is
nothing wrong with enjoying one’s self simply, like a boy.
– Leo Tolstoy, Responding to criticism for learning to ride a bicycle at age 67

Oldest West African mud mosque, Djenne, Mali

Longmen Caves, Henan Province, Louyang, China

India

India

Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.
– Albert Einstein

Kesennuma, Japan

France

Cambodia

I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world,
upon whose spinning wheel we must all learn to ride, or fall into the sluiceways of
oblivion and despair. That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely
what had gained me a measure of success in life —
it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task,
and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed.
– Frances E. Willard

China        

About the author

Steve McCurry has been a one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name.


Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University, before going on to work for a local newspaper. After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera.


It was after several months of travel that he found himself crossing the border into Pakistan. There, he met a group of refugees from Afghanistan, who smuggled him across the border into their country, just as the Russian Invasion was closing the country to all western journalists. Emerging in traditional dress, with full beard and weather-worn features after weeks embedded with the Mujahideen, McCurry brought the world the first images of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue on every masthead.


Since then, McCurry has gone on to create stunning images over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike – yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image.


McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest, to name a few.