Bicycle rickshaw – what is it and what is it for

Public transportation, entertainment, and even an art form in its own right: the bicycle rickshaw. For tourists in Thailand it is a wonder, but for some it is quite an everyday occurrence. A bicycle rickshaw is a type of public transport that does not require fuel – only a person who will pedal. A bicycle rickshaw can be used to transport 1-2 people and a small load.

History of origins


The very first bicycle rickshaws appeared several centuries ago. The homeland of the unusual transport is Japan – there velorickshaws appeared at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries. At that time, they were carts on wheels, pulled by rickshaws. The influence of Western culture on Japanese life was not uncommon here. The pace of life in the cities increased rapidly, people had to move much faster – palanquin porters couldn’t cope, and using horses cost a pretty penny. It is clear that the prefix “bicycle” was out of the question at that time – only on foot or running.

The variant of such an economical transport quickly gained popularity, and by the second half of the 19th century, nimble wagons were moving everywhere in the countries of South and East Asia. It was only in the 20th century that someone came up with the wonderful idea of combining a bicycle and carriage to get a more comfortable means of transportation that would move with even greater speed. And the carriage driver would not get tired so quickly. And so appeared the cycle rickshaw – a bicycle cart, which caught the fancy of the inhabitants of other continents.

Of course, such transport can not compete with cars, but today in many countries, attractive in terms of tourists, riding a bicycle rickshaw is one of the most popular entertainment. Thus, velotaxi is fantastically popular in central New York, London and Washington. A few years ago, the curiosity has reached the Russian capitals – in Moscow, bicycle rickshaws ride on Pushkin Square, and in St. Petersburg – on the Palace Square.

Each country that introduced bicycle rickshaws brought something of its own in design and construction. In particular, you can notice that Asian models differ significantly from Russian or European designs. Thus, in Western countries prefer to use three-wheeled bicycle cabs: in them the driver is in front and 2-3 passengers behind. Such wagons are of open and closed type. The resourceful Vietnamese people prefer to show tourists the attractions in what is called the “face”: the passengers are in the front and the driver is in the back, “pushing” the cart in front of him. In Mongolia and China you can see four-wheeled bicycle rickshaws.

And in Russia, the production of unusual transport was established several decades ago. The first domestically produced cycle rickshaws left the line of the Armavir factory in Krasnodar Krai. Russian engineers figured out how to reduce the load on the driver. The installation of solar panels ensures that the electric motor works – now the driver does not need to pedal furiously. Instead, he or she can keep a better eye on the road and enjoy the scenery with the tourists.

Since the introduction of electric-powered cycle rickshaws, new ideas for the use of the unusual vehicle have begun to emerge. Recently, bicycle rickshaws have been presented to transport ice cream, refreshments and even rickshaw bars in resort towns.


purpose of bicycle rickshaws

It would seem that the advent of automobiles should have negated the need for bicycle carts. But it wasn’t! Bicycle rickshaws are still one of the most popular means of transport in tourist countries. But it is not only foreign guests who account for their popularity. The undeniable advantages of using bicycle cabs are the following:

  • eco-friendliness;
  • exoticism;
  • budget;
  • the wide area of use;
  • high self-sufficiency.

Read also Begovel with his own hands – instructions for making


The bicycle cart is popular with entrepreneurs. It is one thing to transport goods from point A to point B by car. And quite another thing – to engage a cycle rickshaw. It is clear that we are talking about short distances that can be covered by a person on a bicycle. Today, a bicycle rickshaw can be used for the following purposes:

  • cab service;
  • a city tour;
  • an advertising platform;
  • a mobile stall;
  • food court;
  • transportation of small loads;
  • garbage removal, etc.

Bicycle rickshaws fit harmoniously into the urban landscape, they are easy and safe to use, do not harm the nature and require minimal maintenance.

Particular attention should be paid to the use of cycle rickshaws as a place to advertise. Unlike conventional billboards, movable design has a much larger coverage area, and provides a stronger informational effect.

Types of design Bicycle


Frankly, there is no clear classification. As we have said, each country has introduced its own flavor of design and construction. Nevertheless, some common features can be highlighted. There are bicycle rickshaws:

  • Three-wheeled. The driver’s seat is in the front and a cart is placed behind him, in which 1-2 people can ride. The passenger seats are covered by a canopy.
  • Vietnamese modifications. The driver “pushes” the cart with passengers in front of him.

There are also four-wheeled models. In some countries, there are widespread cycle rickshaws, in which the driver is at the side of the passengers – the seats in this case are separated from each other.

Modern manufacturers have created a unique device that allows you to turn an ordinary bicycle into a rickshaw. These devices can be installed on almost any bike. It is enough to remove the front wheel and put the “kangaroo” with any additional element (a seat for a child or adult passenger, a basket for luggage or a cart for a pet).

As you can see, the design of the bicycle wagon gives good ground for thought. But what about making a bicycle rickshaw with your own hands? In fact, there is nothing complicated here. It is enough to find the necessary materials, equip yourself with tools and get to work. But before we proceed to the practical part, it would not hurt to get acquainted with the theoretical aspects.

Read also World speed records on a bicycle


Drawing a blueprint

drawing of a cycle rickshaw from a bicycle

Let’s say at once, three-wheeled design, where the driver is located in front, is the most stable, and therefore – and safe for passengers. Therefore, if you want to make a cycle rickshaw to transport people or goods, then give preference to this option.

Without a drawing or a detailed diagram you can not do without. A graphic representation allows you to correctly calculate the length and size of all elements of the design. When drawing a drawing, make something like a flowchart, showing the sequence of works on making and assembling an unusual transport.

Instructions for creating a cycle rickshaw with your own hands

If you have prepared the drawings, made the necessary measurements and fully prepared yourself for a long and laborious enough process of creating a bicycle carriage, you can proceed to collecting the necessary materials and tools.

Many things can be found in your own garage and at flea markets. Some elements are better to buy, so as to exclude the likelihood of breakage in the near future.

Necessary materials and tools

metal tube

First of all, you need to find a “donor”, that is, a perfectly preserved old bicycle. To make a cycle rickshaw you will need:

  • layered plywood;
  • tools for cutting and machining metal;
  • bicycle transmission (ideally new);
  • grinder;
  • artificial leather;
  • metal tube;
  • three wheels of the same size together with the rim, tires and tubes;
  • fasteners (bolts, nuts, etc.);
  • welding machine;
  • foam rubber.

The torque in this design will be transmitted immediately to two wheels. Therefore, you can buy an axle with a differential, which will make the cycle rickshaw heavier, but at the same time more stable. You can use a factory billet, which is attached to the feathers and seat tube – this will avoid cutting and subsequent welding of metal.

If you are good with a welder or have a good friend with the necessary skills, then you can safely get to work.

Welding the frame

Do not forget that it will have to withstand considerable stress. Pay attention to the drawings and diagrams of tricycles for adults – about such a frame and need to make a cycle rickshaw. To the frame will be attached and other metal elements, so weld the frame of the most durable metal.

Installing the transmission

Now let’s move on to installing the transmission. Don’t forget that the toothed sprocket is attached to the drive wheel. Put on the chain, install the pedal mechanism.

Installing the steering wheel

There is nothing complicated here – all actions are identical to the process of installing the steering mechanism on an ordinary two-wheeled bike. The only point, which would like to indicate – the installation of a signal system, which would alert other road users about the approach of an unusual transport. Quite a useful element.

Read also Do you need a license for an electric bicycle – is registration required, tips


Creating a seat and canopy

bicycle rickshaw seat

The seat can be made yourself from plywood, foam rubber and pieces of leather. Here, everyone already independently decide on the shapes and sizes. Be sure to check the strength of all fasteners and bolts. Only after that, you can make a canopy that will protect the passengers from the scorching sun and drizzling rain.

Benefits of bicycle rickshaws

There are many positive qualities of this vehicle – we talked about them at the beginning of the article. I would like to focus on the pros of bicycle carts in terms of small businesses. And they are not so few:

  • originality;
  • A high percentage of marginal profit (about 80%);
  • no significant risks;
  • lack of competition;
  • the idea can be presented as an environmentally friendly kind of business, so you can count on nice bonuses;
  • to run a business does not need qualified personnel;
  • It is possible to provide various types of services (transportation of people, sightseeing services, transportation of goods, street trade, etc.).

You can make a bicycle rickshaw yourself, or you can buy a ready-made vehicle. Thus, the average cost ranges from 95 to 200 thousand rubles.

Characteristic features of modern bicycle rickshaws

Today, bicycle carts are equipped with a variety of elements and accessories that make the trip even more comfortable. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Eclipse bicycle rickshaw from the Philippines. This design is the brainchild of Kenneth Cobonpue. The model is equipped with three wheels, consists of an aluminum frame and a large number of intertwining circles, which create something like a carriage. It is such a clever model that it has an iPhone socket, speakers, cup holders and side panels inside that create a comfortable space inside.
  2. Barcelona bicycle rickshaws. Most models are equipped with an electric motor, which makes life much easier for drivers.
  3. Bicycle rickshaws in Indonesia. For a long time this transport remained something like a trademark of Jakarta. Its design is so powerful that it allows you not only to transport people and cargo, but also to act as a wrecker.

Modern models have different design features. The differences are due to the specifics and purpose of the vehicle.


A bicycle rickshaw is great for a leisurely trip with children out of town and transportation of goods. This transport has serious potential to develop a small business with great opportunities. It is not so difficult to make it with your own hands. The main thing is to make a competent drawing and find the necessary materials.

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Comments: 1
  1. Sherri Curtis

    Bicycle rickshaws are a great way to get around quickly and efficiently! It’s a perfect option for those who want to explore their city without having to rely on public transport. I’m excited to learn more about this eco-friendly transportation method!

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