TV Cycle – a new cycling TV program

I’ve been working on a cycling television series called TV Cycle. It premiered this week on Boise (Idaho, USA) cable channel 11 and is also available in HD on YouTube. More about the show at the TV Cycle web site. Here’s the premiere episode:

The rickshaw and the pedicab are in the intro sequence and thus will be on the show (briefly) every week for as long as the current intro sequence is used. Both will also have at least one future episode each as the featured ride as well.

Coker Monster Cruiser

Lookie what I picked up in December of 2009, a Coker Monster Cruiser!

Monster Cruiser
Coker Deluxe Monster Cruiser

This is an earlier deluxe model, no longer in production. It is not modded, and has the factory black paint, chrome fenders, headlight, leather pouch, and Persons leather saddle. These were expensive new (over $1000 I believe), but thanks to boise.craigslist, I picked up this rare specimen in great condition for $275. Score!

Here’s my Coker featured one week on TV Cycle:

Here it is with my 1995 Schwinn Classic Cruiser:

Coker Monster Cruiser vs. Schwinn
Size comparison between the Coker Monster Cruiser and a 1995 Schwinn Classic Cruiser

Those are 36 inch tires on the Coker, compared to 26 inchers in the Schwinn. The seat is sitting at the lowest height setting in the picture and I need to lift it a little for my height (6 foot). As you might imagine, this ride gets some looks. Not nearly what the Rickshaw gets, but compared to the Schwinn it’s crazy.

One great thing about the Coker is the inefficiency. It’s a quicker and easier ride than the Rickshaw, though. I’ve enjoyed the Coker and am glad I bought it.

So, if you want to ride a bicycle with some size and mass, I recommend the Coker Monster Cruiser. Another great way to extend the S.U.V.-like “More is more” mentality to cycling. Two wheeled fun!

New movie “The Bounty Hunter” disliked!

I haven’t seen it, and probably never will (since it isn’t a documentary), but regardless, I’m not fond of “The Bounty Hunter” with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, at least from what I’ve seen in the previews. Why? Check this out:

For a brief second I’m thinking “Oooh, rickshaw!” but then it turns to an ugly scene of car on rickshaw violence. I’ve now had a taste of what Mopar-loving first time “The Dukes of Hazard” TV watchers must have thought. “Cool!” followed by “Nooooo!” after they see the first of many Chrysler products get trashed.

I do like the idea of a rear window on the back canopy. I had a similar fold-up canopy on my Rickshaw when I got it, but mine had no window. When the new full canopy was done, the fold-up canopy was removed and has never returned. Not only did the fold-up windowless canopy block vision, but it also worked as an undesirable sound barrier.

Rickshaw Types in Northern India

We have now been to Jaipur, Delhi, and Agra on this trip and the rickshaws in each stop were basically the same and came in two form factors:

  1. Simple:

    Small Indian Rickshaw

    These are smaller with a simple, short, shallow passenger area. An advantage with this configuration is that the rickshaws can also handle cargo duty. I saw multiple of these rickshaws with cargo, and though there is still a capacity hit from having the passenger-centric area, it is much more cargo usable than other designs I’ve seen. The most quirky part of these is the two wedges of wood underneith the passenger compartment which sets the seat and floorboard at an odd angle, sloping towards the rider. I thought this was a hack at first, but I saw this all over the place, and the paint matched as well.

  2. Deluxe:

    Deluxe Rickshaw

    I rode on one of these this week. They have a canopy over the passengers, the passenger area is larger than the “Simple” ones, and there is room to put luggage under the seat. Some of these have mesh seats rather than a padded one as pictured here.

The rickshaws are certainly different in India than my Chinese one. Both styles are smaller, more practical, and likely lighter. The build on the Indian ones, overall, appears to be superior as well.

Rickshaw Ride in Jaipur, India

It finally happened. I got to ride on a rickshaw in India.

I forgot my camera so there’s no footage, but here’s a picture. On the back is a fellow MBA student’s wife, Marsha Condie.

On the back with Marsha Conde

Our driver did not speak English, but he flagged a friend over from nearby to translate. We only had 15 minutes for a ride, so it was a quick loop.

It’s odd to be on the back. I am rarely there on my own Rickshaw. Then there was the whole other thing about being half a world away.

Our driver was a pro, and he negotiated traffic and got us around an back in time. Marsha got a huge kick out of the ride. I was also entertained. Everything was smaller: the driver, the rickshaw, the overall trip.

The total fare was 50 Indian Rubies (about $1 US) but I was so pleased with the ride I gladly paid double. I did pick up on the frame before I left and it was notably lighter than my Rickshaw. It was also quite a bit smaller.

It was cool to take a ride in such a different environment and with a friendly professional at the helm.

Rickshaws in Delhi and New Delhi, India

As part of the NNU MBA program, I am in India right now. This is the only time I’ve been in Asia, and it has been a rewarding journey so far. Something wonderful about being here is seeing rickshaws rolling around in a native environment. Here’s some video from the back of the tour bus:

The environment and conditions these rickshaws operate in are far removed from my own scenario in Boise. Some obvious differences are:

  • Rickshaw related:
    • The rickshaws themselves are less elaborate. No coil spring suspension or full canopies. There’s also none of the added bling we’ve added to my Rickshaw over the years such as the deluxe canopy with integrated LED lights.
    • Brakes: The brakes are often calipers on the front forks. This might be preferred.
    • Design: There seems to be two main kinds of cycle rickshaws here in Delhi/New Delhi. Both are less elaborate than my Chinese rickshaw, though they are likely lighter, more maneuverable, and are better suited for cargo. More practical.
  • Environment related:
    • These guys ride for a living. It isn’t hobby time.
    • The traffic conditions are far different. There are no designated bike lanes. There is far more traffic to contend with. There isn’t a prevalent separated bike roadway like in Boise (Greenbelt). There is a lot of road anarchy going on in the streets, and it pays to be large and powerful. The rickshaws don’t win these battle against the many kinds of vehicles them it in size (auto rickshaws, tiny cars, cars, SUVs, trucks).

I’d love to roll this city for an hour as a rickshaw operator. The traffic would be scary, and I’d be worthless in that even if I could understand where people wanted to go, I wouldn’t know how to get there. Physically, I’m up for it, though. I’m used to single speeds, these rickshaws look lighter and their passengers on average are small (it is India). Hard to say what the rolling resistance is like without hopping on one, because a variety of factor such as tire air pressure come into play.

All in all, it is interesting to see rickshaws in use in a ‘native environment’. From what I’ve seen, Boise is a much more pleasant place to roll, but far less exciting.

Will the dual Mirror Ball bling see duty?

I am dedicated to providing you, the Rickshaw passenger, with the ultimate in fun and cheesiness. To help fulfill the promise, a 4 inch dual mirror ball assembly with 32 LED illumination was acquired for the Rickshaw for $20 shipped. The biggest challenge awaits, which is figuring out how to power this thing. The dual 4″ mirror balls were not designed to be battery operated, and the AC adapter specs were unknown at the time of purchase. No big deal right? Well, we’ll see. Turns out the power adapter is 12V AC, not DC! Hmmm.

Here’s a little video blog I did one night. It is a little on the quiet side, I know:

Here’s a vendor graphic and video for the item:

My friend Riyadth is an Electrical Engineer and will be helping me sort this out from far away in the Seattle area. Should prove to be an interesting project, and hopefully one that will turn out nicely. The mirror balls are amply illuminated for night, and even in the day inside the lights are noticeable.

There’s some mechanical issues as well, specifically the unit is a little loose and doesn’t operate flawlessly upside down. Hopefully, that and the power issue are resolvable. As you can see in the videos, this thing is optimal cheese. It will be a great edition if we can get it in there and working nicely.

Rearview mirror added

Kelly was sweet and got me a Bell 109433 Flex View bicycle rearview mirror for the holidays. It was nice outside today and I decided it was time to mount it the mirror.

I had lost the little threaded metal insert, so I found a bulk nut with the proper thread in the basement and pounded it in with the hammer. Better than new.

The next challenge was the mirror mount to the stem. For most practical purposes, the Rickshaw canopy is perpendicular to bike handlebars. The adjustable arm doesn’t like to twist, which was a problem. Well, only temporarily. I drilled a new hole 90 degrees from the original hold and moved the retaining screw. You can see the result in this closeup:

Bike Mirror Closeup

Here’s a picture from the captain’s seat, and a reasonable representation of what I see:

Bike Mirror Closeup

I haven’t given it a real ride yet, but from a quick trip it looks like the mirror will serve me well and will be an appreciated addition this upcoming season.