I sharpen your knives! Come, come! Baratico. It will get ready for cutting meat, chicken, vegetables, fruits and stripping wire. Come!
It's a song heard in many marketplaces around Mexico, wherever the knife sharpeners do their magic.
These characters have transformed steel stallions, their bicycles, into devices for sharpening customers' knives. For a few cents, these señores of hat and mustache will polish and sharpen the knife blades for households and stores, applying the steel to an iron or a circular stone which is driven by a large wheel, which in turn is driven by a chain moved by two pedals. Mr. Sharpener sits on the seat, pedaling for power with his hands free to polish.
The iron or circular stone is built onto the back of the bicycle, in the rear mud guard, as a kind of table. While cruising the streets or market alleys, Mexican sharpeners use their bicycles in a normal way, but once their services are needed, they stop, display from the rear a kind of stand, turn around, put a cushion on the bicycle frame and then pedal in the opposite direction. The modified chain causes the rear wheel to move, triggering a pulley that turns the sharpening iron.
After the service, Mr. Sharpener returns to the normal position, remove his rear stand and continues on his way looking for the next customer.
And the song begins again:
I sharpen knives! Come, come! Baratico. It will get ready for cutting meat, chicken, vegetables, fruits and stripping wire. Come!