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Chasing Rickshaws Hardcover – October 15, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

All across Asia, the rickshaw reigns--as trusty public transportation, tourist attraction, or both. Tony Wheeler and Richard l'Anson traipsed thousands of miles, from China to Indonesia, to ride, photograph, and otherwise investigate this inveterate Asian taxicab. They visited 12 cities in all, traveling through Agra, Calcutta, Hanoi, Macau, Penang, Singapore, Beijing, Dhaka, Hong Kong, Manila, Rangoon, and Yogykarta, following the wheel ruts of the rickshaw--or trishaw, sidecar, pedicab, cyclo, or becak--depending on which city they were in. The result, other than some callused posteriors, is a splendid homage to a transportation tradition. Wheeler explains the history of the cycle-rickshaw, why it remains such a popular and omnipresent form of Asian transport, and how it varies from country to country. The book is studded with glossy photographs of the various riders (the people who pedal, as opposed to the passengers), and rickshaws put to all sorts of uses. Pictures show rickshaws laden with freight (11 metal containers), or children (10 school-bound kids), as well as a close-up of Mohan, an Agra fellow who, at 65, has been riding rickshaws for 40 years and typically makes one to three dollars a day. We see Beijing rickshaw riders, enthused about their jobs, pleased with the freedom of movement, the decent pay, and the healthy exercise--and the rickshaw men of Calcutta, who are pullers rather than riders. Hand-pulled on wooden wheels, Calcutta rickshaws haven't changed much in a century of use, and they own the streets during monsoons, when the more advanced machinery of the auto bogs down. And Dhaka, the world's rickshaw capital, is populated by more than 300,000 rickshaws. Elaborately decorated and often jammed in downtown rickshaw snarls, they dominate local traffic. And so the stories unfold across the continent. Rickshaws provide more than a focus for the book--they allow for an unusual, educational, and intimate portrait of Asia.

From Library Journal

Human-pulled rickshaws have mostly vanished from the Asian landscape, but pedal rickshaws can still be found in many places. Known as triciclos in Macao, cyclos in Vietnam, and trishaws in Malaysia, they carry their passengers in front of the pedaler in Indonesia, in back in India, and on the side in Myanmar. Though they remain a major form of everyday transportation in Bangladesh, they primarily serve tourists in Singapore and are banned in Jakarta. In this stunning coffee-table book, the first from Lonely Planet, picturesque photos and crisp, pertinent text tell the story of rickshaws today, including interviews with operators, technical comparisons, and information on where to buy them. This will be a popular book in public libraries.?Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 1st edition (October 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0864426402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864426406
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Chasing Rickshaws" documents the long and colorful history of the rickshaw. From the early rickshaws to the more recent pedicabs, Wheeler remarks on the humble beginnings and changes surrounding this most common form of transportation. The surprising variations and ingenuity of the rickshaw designs combined with the hard work and hardship endured by the drivers or pullers makes for an interesting mixture of culture and history. The photos are vivid and portray more than an image of a somewhat outmoded vehicle, they show a unique insight into what makes this very common people-hauler, grocery-getter such an integral part of many countries daily routines. With rising interest in tourist pedicabs, this book is a must read for anyone about to embark on a rickshaw adventure.
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Format: Hardcover
As one who is devoted to seeing pedicabs everywhere, this book was a great inspiration. This study of pedicab businesses in many major Asian cities gives insights into the vital economic niche that this enterprise fills. Great reading for those interested in sustainable enterprises and economies.
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Format: Hardcover
I won this book in 2009 from Lonely Planet, Australia.

The cover of the book speaks eloquently for the content. This is a classically produced book with breathtaking photographs from the streets where rickshaw may be had. The only country missed entirely, it seems, is Pakistan. And having lived in Pakistan I can attest to the popularity of this mode of transport. The text complements the photographs and diagrams show how a certain rickshaw is made and how many can easily fit into it.

Verdict: Buy it.
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