Where previously rickshaws were basically carts pulled by runners, they have since long been replaced by bicycle rickshaws. In modern areas of Delhi, these have again been replaced by motorized rickshaws and cars, in older parts of the city the cycle rickshaw is still the most common ways of transportation.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.
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.
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.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Cycle rickshaw riders (India). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Cycle rickshaw riders. Read more about this site.