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India: Cycle rickshaw riders

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Cycle rickshaw riders | India | Asia

[Visited: February 2008 and several times before]

Where previously rickshaws were basically carts pulled by runners, they have since long been replaced by bicycle rickshaws. In modern areas of Delhi, these have again been replaced by motorized rickshaws and cars, in older parts of the city the cycle rickshaw is still the most common ways of transportation. They are a relatively fast way of traveling short distances; they are very popular: the streets are filled with bicycle rickshaws. It is easy to imagine that especially the narrow alleys and lanes of Old Delhi can get congested with bicycle rickshaws; this is indeed the case.

Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Indian cycle rickshaw rider concentrating on his task

While the bicycle rickshaws normally fit one or two passengers, you often see entire families on the back seat. If you think passengers cannot take much luggage with them on their cycle rickshaw ride, think twice. Not only do people take their handbag, they also take much bulkier items with them. I have seen TV sets, furniture, stacks of boxes, sewing machines, and other large pieces of luggage. Watching a parade of bicycle rickshaws passing by makes you wonder about the strength of the cyclist.

Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Indian girl in school uniform being transported on a cycle rickshaw

No matter how heavy their load, their strong legs give the cyclist sufficient power to move at a good speed. At the same time, they are extremely agile and can steer their vehicles through the narrowest gaps, passing cows, pedestrians suddenly crossing the street, carts loaded with vegetables, and not in the last place, other cycle rickshaws making unexpected movements. I found watching the bicycle rickshaws plying the streets a fascinating sight in itself. They make for constant movement (although I did see a complete traffic blockade with only cycle rickshaws involved), add colour and atmosphere to the streets, and, not to forget: instead of producing noise and gases, the only sound coming from them is a friendly metallic squeek every now and then.

Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Indian women on the back of a rickshaw
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Indian schoolgirls being transported by an Indian rickshaw rider
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Cycle rickshaw with boy and mother, remote control and TV
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Bright colours adorn Indian women
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Indian bearded rickshaw rider in the streets of Old Delhi
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Making a call from the back of a bicycle rickshaw: young Indian women
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Line of bicycle rickshaws in the streets of Delhi
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Thoughtful young Indian girl on a cycle rickshaw
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Sewing machine on the back of a bicycle rickshaw
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Afternoon nap on the back of a bicycle rickshaw
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Riding the rickshaw
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Indian military on a cycle rickshaw
Picture of Cycle rickshaw riders (India): Strong Indian rickshaw rider

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