The Bogotá Bicycle Club

Every week I run a Google News search for “Gardener + Arrested”.  An unwritten journalistic law states that if a horticulturalist makes the news his profession must form part of the headline, e.g.; “Gardener Arrested in Midnight Raid” or “Pervert Gardener was Parkland Flasher”. Thus, with a simple two word search, I can check which of my former colleagues are currently working their way through the criminal justice system.

A pleasant upshot of this obsessive hobby is the exposure it brings to local police bulletins. Yesterday I read the crime reports from the San Jose Mercury for Thursday August the 7th and found:

“Terrace Drive, 7:22 a.m. Thursday, a female who found something brought it into the police station to find out what it was.”

“Trousdale Drive, 5:39 p.m. Thursday, a resident received a note from a neighbour containing threats directed at her gardener.”

“1525 Balboa Ave., 6:59 p.m. Thursday, a male got into an argument with a person whose dog urinated on his bike helmet.”

The threats towards a gardener, the bike helmet and the suburban nature of this report remind me of a novel I read years ago. The protagonist was a jobbing gardener who cycled around North London having run-ins with a threatening landscaping crew and getting into comic scrapes. It stuck with me because at the time of reading I myself was a jobbing gardener who cycled around South London, though I never really had any comic scrapes, I did dig up a liquefied dog in a plastic crate once, which you can make into good joke:

“My dogs sealed in an airtight box!”

“But then how does he smell?”


You can read all about my adventures as a bicycle gardener here. Having a documented history as a bicycle gardener I was interested to note that the vast majority of private gardening here in Bogota is carried out by bicycle gardeners. The traditional set up is something like this:

Bicycle Gardener
Bicycle Gardener

Note the strimmer strapped along the crossbar and the can of petrol on the back-pannier: this is no casual pot-fiddler. More impressive still are the mobile viveros selling pseudo-bonsai from a tricycle trailer as seen below:


I’ve decided not to join the ranks of the cycling horticulturalists out here, don’t want any “Gardener Squashed by Massive Lorry” headlines in the Bogota post.


5 thoughts on “The Bogotá Bicycle Club

  1. I’ve just ran a Google News search for the same terms… oh my Goodness! °_O
    Here in Italy they revealed:
    #1 a gardener who mistreats his wife
    #2 a gardener affiliated to a mafia gang
    #3 a green thumb for marijuana
    It seems like these two terms are a sort of x and y to outline the worse of our society… to be optimistic, I assume good things do not make noise…
    Very funny, anyway 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Thanks GT! Nice blog BTW – I’m trying to work on my Spanish but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take this site bilingual.

      I think you can certainly be optimistic, if you do a search for gardener in the news without arrested attached there are hundreds of stories along the lines of “Local Gardener Transforms Unloved Carpark” or “Gardeners Unite to Plant Therapeutic Garden”

      I think as a group our rate of altruism to criminality is about 35:1, pretty good in my book – right up there with primary school teachers and nuns.

  2. What an excellent idea. Typing in random words could provide news far more interesting than the BBC supplies.

    Though our local paper does pretty well and prints reports on the lines of

    “’67 grandmother Mrs Smith who moved to Weymouth in 1964 and recently celebrated her silver wedding anniversary said ‘I didn’t know the man whose toaster caught fire but I’ve heard he is a quiet man who keeps himself to himself and is no trouble to his neighbours.’ Mrs Smith later said ‘I think we would all like to thank the emergency services who arrived promptly to the scene. I understand the toaster was no longer on fire when they arrived but if it had been I’m sure they could have averted a major tragedy’. More on this tomorrow when we interview Mrs Smith’s daughter in law who lives in Spain and once owned a toaster which might have caught fire but, fortunately, did not.”

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