Donna and Joe have finished their assignment in India. Occasionally they still travel somewhere.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Roadside Repair

My bicycle, which I brought with me from Vermont needed new tires. I went down to Dispensary Rd where there are several bike shops but no-one had any tires in the right size. I need 700mm by something but they all seemed to have 26 and 28 inch tires. So I brought the bike down to see what would fit. Here you see the bike technician in his workshop. Well alright, technically it's the sidewalk but thats where he works. You can see a few of his tools between him and the pile of tires, and there are more in that cardboard box in the background. By trial and error he found a pair of 27in tires that almost fit. Dispensary Rd. is on block over from Commercial St. and a very busy shopping street. All along the street the sidewalks are used as work areas or display area for merchandise. If you stop to browse the merchandise on the sidewalk the shopkeeper will invite you inside where he has "better things". So people actually trying to walk to somewhere further along the street mingle with the cars, which are usually moving at less than walking speed because the road is so jammed.

Here is the same guy working on the rear wheel. Notice the motorcycle parked on the sidewalk in this picture.

I didn't actually take this picture the same day but it seems to go with the bike repair. This is just past the prepaid auto stand at Cantonment Railroad Station. It actually seems to be a fairly common place to work on auto-rickshaws. This one appears to be held up by some kind of stand on the other side but I have also seen someone working under an auto while two men were holding it up in this position.
After getting new tires I took a little ride and got lost. When that happens which is pretty often I get out my map. Sometimes I figure out where I am. Other times someone comes along to help. Invariable they have no idea how to read a map but they can general point me toward a local landmark which I can find on the map. Sometimes they can tell me how to get where I'm going. These three boys stopped to help and where able to direct me to Arabic College (just up the road) which was on my map.


Karen said...

Hey Joe, tell me again about autorickshaws. I forget what they are exactly. A small car or a scooter with a cover or something like that. I agree with Gill, keep up the good work. You have the best blog ever!!
Love you both,

Joe said...

Hi Karen,
The vehicle being repaired in the 3rd picture, with the yellow top is an auto-rickshaw. Auto-rickshaws in Bangalore invariable have this black and yellow color scheme, but in other cities they have other color schemes, also uniform across the city.
It has handle bars like a motorcycle complete with all the controls. The handle bars steer a single wheel in the front allowing a turning radius less than the length of the vehicle which is about 6 feet. In the back they have two wheels and seat about 3 feet wide. I have counted as many as 11 persons, including the driver riding in one auto-rickshaw. This is probably not a record since it's hard to count the people inside when there are that many.