I had to send a note telling you about Ann Arbor's newest bicycle rickshaw. It has made the journey around the world from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal to the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Its cargo box was HUGE, so big and heavy, it could not be lifted by several humans. We needed a forklift. Lucky for us, Mr. Forklift Man was at the ready at the Detroit airport. I've never seen anyone drive a forklift like that before. The machine was like an extension of his own hand! He loaded the substantial rickshaw box into our U-Haul, and we were off and skipping back to Ann Arbor. Here at home, we had to destroy the wooden box the rickshaw had traveled in - in order to get it out of the U-Haul. And in pieces, we lugged rickshaw parts into my garage. I found only three tires and began to worry that one was missing when I realized, duh, a rickshaw only has three wheels!
A few days later, quite miraculously and impossibly - Mr. Waddy Potthoff managed to get it assembled - all put together - single handedly! How did he do that??!! He has 'some bike experience' he says - motorcycles especially. I was away and to my amazement when I returned I found this work of art, standing, gloriously ready to ride. It truly looked like an impossible feat when I had seen the rickshaw last. Keith and I and our little son took the rickshaw over to the parking lot across the street in the dark the other night to give it a spin. It is surely working! We're not quite ready to give rides - yet - but this conveyance is something to see.
The three wheeled bike is colorful and looks like it belongs in a circus. When the horn wears out, I will replace the honker with a shampoo bottle - just like they do in the streets of Kathmandu. It also needs some big plastic flowers stuck into its handle bars. I am working on that. And we can rig up an umbrella and a tarp to drape over the top on rainy days. In Kathmandu they call the rickshaws "Nepali helicopters" - not sure how that ever started but somehow they have that appearance. It's been a longtime dream to see a Nepali helicopter in Ann Arbor - and here it is!