If I Ever Get Out of Here…

…I’m going to Katmandu. 

In the meantime, however, I’ll share these pictures that Carson City’s Anne Macquarie took on her recent visit to Nepal.

Fruit Bike
Fruit Bike

Anne says,

Here are pictures of alternative transportation and bike business opportunities in Kathmandu. Actually, walking is the principal method of transport, motorcycles second, then cars, then bikes. Cars creep slowly through pedestrian-clogged streets.

When I was there 25 years ago, big, clunky black Chinese-made bikes were in common use, but when the recent 10-year-long Maoist insurgency in the countryside caused many to flee their villages to live in Kathmandu, the city itself and the Kathmandu Valley in general exploded in population, clogging the streets. At the same time, motorcycles became available, and people switched from bicycles to motorcycles, leaving only the few hardy cyclists like those pictured. Bicycle rickshaws are still in common use though. Rickshaw-wallahs have a hard life, usually living only a few years or months past the time when they finally pay off the loan they got to buy the rickshaw.

Rickshaw
Rickshaw

I’ve always thought it’d be cool to have a bicycle based business, but after reading this, I’m not sure I’d want to setup shop in Kathmandu! I will have to pick a different business venture, should I ever get out of here.

Water Bike
Water Bike

Thanks for the fascinating pictures and words, Anne!

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7 thoughts on “If I Ever Get Out of Here…

  1. I’m with Morgan. That picture is very cool.
    Have you ever seen the Wes Anderson film “The Darjeeling Limited”? Photo reminds me of that.
    Very cool film by the way (IMHO) but set in India.
    P.S. Bob Segar ROCKS! :^)

  2. I’m sure if you were able to set up shop and offer very affordable bicycles and rickshaws, you’d make a good living and would be a savior to these people. I’m sure their barter system is pretty standard too.

    Make sure you get all your shots before heading out to this venture.

  3. One of the people I was traveling with has a brother who spent nine years in Calcutta working on new rickshaw designs to make rickshaw driving easier. He tried lots of things but most of them added too much to the cost of the rickshaw to be practical. He finally came up with a light, simple second gear (most rickshaws have only one) so the wallahs could pedal uphill slightly more easily. Apparently the innovation was a great success, and was copied by small rickshaw manufacturers all over India.

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