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Written by TONY WHEELER with photographs by RICHARD L'ANSON.
Also known as trishaws, sidecars, pedicabs, cyclos, becaks and a host of other local names, the cycle-rickshaw is much more than just a means of transport. The twelve Asian cities visited in this book cover the whole spectrum of the rickshaw and cycle-rickshaw story. In Beijing they disappeared during the Cultural revolution only to reappear in the 1980s. In Penang the riders are old and fading, while in Manila they're often teenagers dreaming of moving on to jeepney driving. In Dhaka the cycle-rickshaws are both everyday transport and moving art galleries. In Singapore they're disappearing as day-to-day transport but simultaneously being reborn as tourist attractions. In Hong Kong they're both city icon and endangered species.
The rickshaw designs are as widely variable as their riders. The rickshaw, a creation of the 1880s, gave birth to the cycle-rickshaw during the 1930s and 1940s but no standard pattern developed for this new-fangled device. In Manila, Rangoon and Singapore the cycle-rickshaws are standard bicycles with attached sidecars. In Agra, Beijing, Dhaka and Macau the rider is out front and the passenger behind, as if the front part of a bicycle was mated with an old hand-pulled rickshaw. In Hanoi, Penang and Yogyakarta, the arrangement is reversed, so passengers have an unsettling view of the oncoming traffic hurtling towards them.
Many of our readers will be writing to Santa asking for this large format, beautifully photographed book. Designers of load carrying vehicles will also find it an instructive source book, for each type of rickshaw featured is illustrated with a full page line drawing giving the basic dimensions.
Hardback, 190 pages, published by Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 0 86442 640 2
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