Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simple bicycles

I must admit, I do own a fancy and also expensive bicycle, but it's not that important. Of course, my Paula is a hell of a nice ride, but for simply getting from A to B I can do with almost anything. For example, I still use my old mountain bike for many trips, especially when the road conditions are not so good. Does one really need many gears and fancy equipment?

Well, all our bikes are nothing compared to bicycles in India. Indian bicycles are very simple. The vast majority is exceedingly old, heavy and single speed. There are no lights nor reflectors installed. The saddle as well as the carrier are huge and seem comfy and stable, respectively. The most beautiful piece of an Indian bicycle is the big shiny bicycle bell. Fantastic!

A typical Indian bicycle

The brakes are mostly rod brakes. As opposed to other rim brakes, when force is applied to the hand lever, the friction pads are pulled upwards against the inner surface (facing the hub) of the wheel rim. In Austria such brake systems can only be seen on vintage bicycles, but even there they are more than rare.

"Hero" is a popular bike brand -- great name!

DIY-Locks are common. I particularly like the chain locks :-).

What a beauty! (secured by a chain lock)

Apart from “normal bicycles”, rickshaws and special bikes for the transport of goods, I have also spotted several hand bikes (e.g., used by disabled people).

A lot of stuff can be transported on a hand bike


Anonymous said...

Some of these bicycles may be replicas of Raleigh Tourist DL-1 bicycles (see http://www.yellowjersey.org/EASTMAN.HTML for an importer of these replicas from India. I myself have a Raleigh Dl-l Ladies Tourist (original). Thanks for an interesting blog!

Steve A said...

I would have imagined that cable-operated rim brakes would be cheaper as well as more effective. Perhaps they already have the tooling and just don't want to change.

Velouria said...

Thanks for the cool pictures. Have you ridden any of these?

2whls3spds said...

The Raleigh DL-1 (DeLuxe-1) is/was the granddaddy of utility bicycles. First produced around 1913, with copies STILL being produced today in many factories around the world. Supposedly it is the single most produced bicycle design in the world.

Rod brakes have a few advantages over cable brakes, try and find a replacement cable sometimes, rod brakes seldom break (or brake for that matter).


anna said...

Thanks for the insights guys! I didn't do much research on these bikes, but it's interesting :).

@ Velouria: No, haven't ridden any of them. Maybe next time :).

Anonymous said...

I have a similar bicycle and its 35yrs old and its still in good condition. I use it everyday.....

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