Yesterday, I set off on my first full experience on the World Rickshaw Taxi. I would be travelling to the Beverley Race Course, East Yorkshire to get some good practice and test my endurance trekking over the Yorkshire Wolds. This was important as I need to see for my self how I would manage with the hills as in stark contrast I have only been practicising near home where it is very flat.
Discomfort in the knee
I had been keeping quiet about a lingering ache that was developing in my knees. I intiailly put this down to just getting used to pedalling the rickshaw with the amount of weight. It was always in the back of my mind, because once a knee problem develops it could have put the whole project down the pan. Even more frustrating I found even after two hours, I was becoming very sore even using my tried and tested method of using vaseline.
Something wasn’t right, the saddle height was correct and it seemed to be at the right angle and my knees didn’t appear to be twisting. I started blaming my foot wear thinking sandels were a problem, but I had ridden on bikes for miles with these.
At the weekend, a friend came over from Brough, whom I picked up from Gilberdyke station (3 and a 1/2 Miles from home). My knees were aching as if they felt under stress but later in the afternoon we went for a bike ride around the local area up to the River Ouse, for a two hour ride. I had to part with my road bike to the touring bike I went to Morocco on. Strangely enough my knees felt much better throughout and once finishing they were fine.
A thought occured to me two days ago just before I went to bed. Perhaps it wasn’t me, or the rickshaw, but it was the saddle. The original cycles maximus is a whopper of gel padded, spring seat – what you’d find on a gym bike or a ladies bike.
It soon came apparant that it was too wide for my stature, which was causing the excessive chaffing and I also thought it was impeding my legs movement – and putting stress on my knees. From that I took the intiative to exchange it for my £5 saddle that got me to Morocco.
Eventually after messing around with dinner, I set off.
Already I felt much more comfortable with the saddle swap and eventually after ten minutes my knees felt great, just as if I was riding a normal bike even with sandals. That set a positive tone for the rest of the journey. With a newly installed wireless speedometer, I was whipping the miles down pretty fast even without a tail wind – on average I was going 10mph – I was so thoroughly pleased.
Eventually I got passed North Cave and entered the wolds and it soon became noticeably harder. I was breathing heavy getting up the fairly steep hills but wasn’t causing too much grievance with passing cars. However, I was prolifically sweating and the gym towel soon came out. Eventually I came to the hill I feared the most. It’s steep for a car and I reckon is a minimum of 8% gradient.
I had to stop and gather my energy and confidence as I wasn’t even sure it was possible a rickshaw up it.
I put it into lowest gear I had, and I was slowly gaining altitutde despite lunging myself over the handlebars. I think it was a huge suprise to the cars that passed by who probably couldn’t have imagined such a sight. About halfway I pulled in to let the queue of cars by and an opportunity to take some more pictures.
Afterwards I pushed on and it dawned upon me that I actually did it. It was overly satisfying and the probably the best accomplishment I would have patted my own back for in a good long time. From there on it was pretty much all down hill towards Beverley, and I got there in good time.
The overall journey took around two hours excluding breaks, which I think is a brilliant result considering it was my first go.
Time to meet the passengers – alot of them
I just missed everyone going to the races, so I went into Beverley. Most people were trying to work out what I was doing and eventually cracked a smile. I took a couple from Grimsby back to the car before the meter run out – they were pleased to have saved their legs the long walk. Afterwards I headed back to the racecourse, annoyingly uphill. I’d describe it as tap just about to be turned, people starting trickling out from the entrance followed within half an hour by a volley of pedestrians heading into town.
Since it was ‘ladies day’, many of them were wearing the longest heels imaginable alongside some quite impressive ‘fascinators’. I think many of them were relieved when they saw me coming and were even offering to pay to take them into Beverley. I cannot accept payment because of legislation, so instead took them for free which made them even more happier. It was very suprising to hear that many people were turned down by regular taxis and just goes to show how poor the current system is. Most people couldn’t believe that I wasn’t allowed to charge anything and thanked me very well at the end of their journey, especially after hearing why I was doing it for free – namely the World Rickshaw Taxi!
It was great to meet so many people, that day I must have taken nearly 50 passengers at a guess. Everyone was excited to see such an unusual sight in Beverley especially once ingested with alcohol. Going past some of the pubs I was cheered on quite enthusiastically although their motivation to do so I was unsure of – maybe it was from the frequent occurance.
I had so many encounters that I couldn’t really write about them all, but it was a brilliant experience meeting so many people and taking them around Beverley to save their legs / feet. By around 6 O’clock I was starting to cramp up but not tired because I hadn’t taken much salt that day to offset the amount I sweat. I kept going to around 7:30 and got picked up my dad on the way home.
That day I managed to pull off 35 miles, which I think is a pretty impressive result for my first trial.
And yes, it’s got the Union Jack on for a bargain price of £25!
On Sunday I will be heading to Hull, for the Sky Ride so if you near then HOP ON!