1982 KW Engineering Works Heavy-Duty Cycle Rickshaw (India)
This cycle-rickshaw was manufactured by the KW Engineering Works.
It’s based around a double top-tube 24″ frame roadster.
It was imported to Britain from India and, for many years, was on display at the Christchurch Tricycle Museum.
The rear passenger compartment is heavily ornamented in traditional Indian cycle-rickshaw style.
It’s in excellent all-round original condition and is fully functional.
In India, the hood is used more to protect passengers from the sun as from rain.
Wheels are 28″ x 1 1/2″ equal Westwood. Track is 35.5″ and length is 96″
BRIEF HISTORY OF CYCLE RICKSHAWS
Bicycles and tricycles were exported from Great Britain to India from the earliest days of design and manufacture. The English Cycle Importing Company of 23 Broadway, Madras, was one of many such businesses, opening in 1900 with agencies for Rover, Raleigh, Rudge-Whitworth, Centaur, Royal Enfield, Barton Humber, Singer, Rolfe, Sun and many others.
Soon factories were established to build bicycles and tricycles in India, mostly based on British models.
In 2001, India had 18 million petrol powered 2 wheelers and 1.5 million petrol and diesel powered 3 wheelers. The growth rate is around 15% pa. At that time there were also 2 million cycle rickshaws in India, carrying around six to eight billions passengers a year.
CALCUTTA HAND-PULLED RICKSHAW
Cycle rickshaws were introduced in Delhi in the 1940’s when they were seen as a major technological advancement over the hand-pulled rickshaws. One would have expected them to disappear with the fast growth of modern, motorized transport. But their number has grown phenomenally in the last couple of decades, testifying to a vibrant and increasing demand for this service.
Cycle rickshaws provide a much needed and valuable public service, particularly for low-income groups in cities. A kilometer in a cycle rickshaw costs around five rupees for a local person, while an auto rickshaw would charge Rs 15 to 20 for the same distance. In the old city area of Delhi and in some of the congested colonies meant for the poor, where the lanes and by-lanes are too small for motorized vehicles, cycle rickshaws are the only available means of transport. Where there are no commercial goods-tricycles available, they are also used for carrying freight.
Cycle-rickshaws are still used as basic transport all over Asia. The photo below is from Lhasa, Tibet (April, 1995).
To see more transport photos from my time in Asia
I like the original Indian Dunlop ‘Pillow’ saddle, seen below.
This cycle rickshaw is an ideal medium for advertising a business. You could put a two-sided sign between the double top-tubes, as well as a sign on the back where it currently displays the logo of the Christchurch Tricycle Museum (below).
I have an original KW pedal crank (below) for the rickshaw. The one fitted is a Hercules; as it works fine I’ve not bothered to change it.
The passenger compartment of the rickshaw is particularly ornate. The four bells that you can see dangling, below, ring when it is in motion.