It’s Sunday and almost everything is closed. We thought we were going to shop for decorations and cushions, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. With our phones now able to guide us, we walked to the Rickshaw Run Headquarters. It was a pleasant walk through market areas and partially on a walkway without any motor traffic. Once we got close, we recognized the area and easily found HQ. Our new baby was still parked in her corner like a bad little girl being punished. We must rectify that!
We checked in at the registration desk and they had more goodies for us: event stickers, a jerry can for mixing our petrol, and the keys to our girl. We pushed the Livin’ Life rickshaw out of the corner and applied her fancy new stickers.
And one more on the back. I like it. It livens her up.
We had to control our urge to jump in and take off. We are required to be trained on the operation of the rickshaw. Some people seemed to require a lot of training. But he came over to us and said, “Here’s the basics: ignition for the key, lights, wiper, turn signal, brake pedal, starter, and reverse. Okay, go!” There may have been one or two other things he said, but not much. I climbed in and started it up. He had us sign off that we were trained and handed us our India Drivers Licenses. Huh. If we get pulled over, I’m totally using that!
It wasn’t as easy as a motorcycle. I could start it, put it in gear, but it died on me every time I started to go. I eased the clutch, gave it more gas, less gas, let the clutch out faster, slower… It didn’t matter, it died when I’d start to go. So I switched with Dave and he took off first try! Huh. And away he went. He needs to practice shifting and the brake pedal is going to be tough for him, but he definitely knows how to work the horn.
So now we needed to figure out what I was doing wrong. Dave watched me do it over and over and couldn’t understand why it kept dying. So I watched closely as he did it. He started it up, put it in first, eased the clutch, gently turned on the throttle, but didn’t let the clutch out all the way until he was going pretty well. Okay, I’ll try that. It worked and I was off first try. It felt a little strange at first, but it was easy to get the hang of it. The only part that worries me is that with only one front wheel but two back wheels, it feels tippy. I don’t want to make any hard sharp turns. In fact, two teams already flipped their rickshaws onto their sides today, one busting out their windshield! Fortunately, no one was hurt. This is why we have parking lot practice.
Dave quickly gained confidence and smoothed out his shifting, but he is still worried about the brake pedal. You can’t really hover over it. His foot rests beside it and it will take some practice to learn exactly where it is when he lifts his foot to brake. It is too far back for his toes, so he has to brake with his heel. I’m not worried; he’ll get the hang of it. The rickshaws are pretty fun to drive, at least for the 10-15 minutes we drove them. Wonder if we will still think they are fun after driving 8-10 hours for 15 days.
There were some mishaps on our paint job already – not from us! So we decided to touch up a few areas. Also, they didn’t paint the front fender and around the headlight, so we painted that, too. Though I forgot to take a picture afterwards. I had quite an audience at times. Everyone asked if we bought the rickshaw. We tried to explain renting, but ended up telling them that yes, we bought it.
These boys seemed to be my biggest fans. They watched me paint for quite a while. They were shy about posing for Dave at first, but it looks like they got over it. Aren’t they cute? When it was time to go home, the boys said, “Ma’am, excuse me, ma’am. We are going now. Home. Maybe we come back later.” I had to smile. These polite boys were a joy.
Another requirement to fulfill is taking a mechanics class. Here, a large group of participants are gathered around to learn everything there is to know about repairing their rickshaws.
He started with the very basics. “This is the engine. This is the fuel filter; don’t worry about that. This is the electronics: you need to change the spark plug at least once through your trip. Here’s some wiring. If you don’t get a spark, you have an electrical problem.”
Then he showed us the carburetor and had one out to disassemble. He showed us the different parts that might get clogged, if we are having a fuel problem. That’s about all he showed us. He told us not to worry about anything else and said if we have problems, ask a taxi driver where a mechanic is that can fix it. Rickshaws are very common and so are their parts and mechanics. Good! Yep, that was the whole class.
After we had our fill of practice driving and attended the mechanics class, we were free to go and we walked back to our hotel. It was a slow day at the market because many shops were closed, but there were a few open – mostly food sales.
The butcher was open. He hung his wares out for all to see. I tried to picture it living to guess what it was. I guessed goat, but it could be lamb. I can’t say I am used to seeing my meat quite like that.
The next place sold poultry. I’m assuming chicken. I’m glad I’m not cooking here. I don’t really feel comfortable with cooking meat that’s been hanging out all day. The meat stalls reminded me of China, except the variety of meat was much greater in China and much of it was sold live.
I enjoyed watching this fruit vendor weigh his mangoes to quote a price. It’s not quite weight by stone, but close. It just seems so old fashioned. I can’t wait to hit the shops tomorrow when they are all open again!