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.

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