After two days at Interbike looking at some of the most technologically advanced human-powered equipment you could ever hope to own it was nice to stumble across this beauty, reminding us that it doesn’t have to be a matte and gloss covered carbon frame, white spokes or kangaroo leather to stop you in your tracks. On a recent trip upstate we found this Trishaw outside a shop in Kent, CT, a beautiful example of this practically unchanged functional design. Colonization made sure that it spread globally from India to Finland and South Africa to the USA. Depending on their origin and alterations to the design they have also been called the Becak (Indonesia), Padyak (Phillippines), and the less glamorous Pedicab (in the USA).
The passenger cabin is covered with a retractable canopy, which is equal part sun protection, and a shield from tropical downpours. This is usually supplemented with plastic bags being stuffed into every nook and cranny to seal the cover and keep the monsoon out. This one looks like it hails from India and has beautiful hand done paintwork on the passenger shell identifying the passengers clearly as tourists. It also has a dynamo lighting system that includes indicator lights for turning. For those of you that might have spent time traveling in one of these in any Indian city will know that these indicators are pure “decoration”. There really doesn’t seem to be any right of way on city roads, or a sense of letting other “drivers” know where you intend on going. Looking at many of the drivers of these Trishaws makes you wonder why they aren’t Chris Hoy thigh sized power dynamos? If the average weight is about 100kg (220lbs), throw in a couple of 220lbs tourists, and you are looking at some serious dead weight to get moving, and you better hope those brakes work.