Benja: About the Rickshaws
Malvan Travel Blog› entry 14 of 22 › view all entries
They're fairly basic our rickshaws. At one point Team Badger Racing had no stereo, no lights, no horn, has never had a windscreen wiper and we were trying to get up mountain roads at night in the rain and dark without getting squashed by some huge truck. Safety features are pretty much nil except for the fact we've not managed to get any of them over 65kmph, and to even get close required a following wind, a big hill and balls of steel. Comfort is defined by how fast your driver goes over pot-holes and cornering speed is definitely aided by the co-pilot hanging out of the side of the machine for stability.
Technical issues between our 4 teams teams have included busted clutch cables, replacing all the electrics, flat tyres, a gearbox which refuses to stay in 2 or 3rd gears, a knackered wheel bearing, and the like.
The only team who have got away with near reliability is Dave and Matt in the A-Team, although there was a funny incident when Matt spent half an hour trying to get it started after a petrol stop and it was only when he got some local chap to have a look did he find out I'd disconnected his HT lead to the spark plug. Serves him right for being so smug.
Another major issue is trying to drive them one-handed the whole time. This isn't to show off or for any other purpose than the fact that everyone we pass waves and cheers.
Driving styles also differ significantly from the slightly more gentle and sensible (the girls), to the rather binary style of David “Danger” Torbet. To be honest having a throttle and brake pedal is rather a waste when all he really needs is an on/off switch. If he's not at full throttle, or flat out on the brakes then he's not in a rickshaw. Fortunately his road sense and driving skills are very well developed and compensate for his rather brutal driving style. At least if his career in Private Equity doesn't work out, there'll always be a place for him as Satan's chauffeur.
The brakes are also rather sketchy, and only operate on the rear wheels with almost French levels of unreliability.
Amazingly only 3 of the 32 have been rolled so far, and the last one of those was almost a week ago, so everyone is getting more used to their trusty steeds, and we can only hope they get us all the way to Mumbai next week.