Two- Wheeled Transportation And Communication Systems In The World

With the advent of technology, namely telecommunication and the internet, it’s easy to forget that transport and communication used to take a lot of time. Ever since the 1817 ‘drasine’ used by a German duke, bicycles have been a popular mode of transport and communication in the world. Before the invention of the automobile, bicycles were a popular mode of transport, utilize by males and females alike. Today, cyclists are a dying breed, and cycling professions even more so. However, there are still certain corners of the world where cycling is the fastest or most convenient way of transporting something or someone, or sending a message. Here are some two- wheeled transportation and communication systems that still exist in the world today.

The Dabawallahs of Mumbai

These are the unsung heroes of Mumbai’s lunch hour; the dabawallahs are a group of (mostly) men on bicycles transporting lunch from homes to work places. The organization of the dabawallahs is mind- boggling; everyday hundreds of dabawallahs collect the chrome tiffin carriers in which meals are usually transported in Mumbai from homes scattered across the city. They are then brought to a collection point and change hands along a network of dabawallahs until they reach their final destination. One tiffin carrier may be transported by as many as four dabawallahs one way, and the informal statistic is that only 4 out of 40 tiffins go astray – an impressive ratio considering that most of the dabawallahs are illiterate, aging and live below the poverty line.

The Bike Messengers of New York

The Big Apple is billed as one of the world’s most congested cities. Immortalized in the popular movie Premium Rush, the bicycle messenger is New York’s answer to the mad traffic jams that bogs down urgent courier service. Bike messenger services operate on the principle of speed and are the quickest way of delivering documents, parcels and messages across town..

Bikers use lightweight cycles that are built for speed and ride the length and breadth of New York delivering everything from invitations to care packages. Being a bicycle messenger is a dangerous job as the risk of accidents is extremely high; most messengers do the job for the adrenaline rush, not for the pay, which is disproportionately low to the risk. Bike messengers function as an urgent courier service that replaces larger courier vehicles that cannot deliver on time.

The Cycle Rickshaws of Terai

Cycle rickshaws were a common mode of transport in Asia prior to the reign of the automobile, and are still used in many countries as an alternative to the vehicle. They replaced the pulled rickshaw, which was a passenger seat pulled by hand. Nepal is one country where cycle rickshaws are used all over the country due to their low maintenance cost. The terai region is especially famous for using hundreds of rickshaws to transport goods, daily commutes and carry tourists. A cycle rickshaw is a bicycle with a wide seat attached to the back. Some cycle rickshaws have a sidecar attached so that passengers can ride in tandem with the bicycle rider. Almost all cycle rickshaw riders are men, and make a meagre living carting people to and from their daily destinations.