Denise’s Rickshaw Challenge

Rickshaw – noun – a small two wheeled hooded carriage drawn by a man or men, or powered by a man on a bicycle (bicycle rickshaw). Political correction – person/persons/people!

Cycle Rickshaw – synonyms – bike taxi, velotaxi, pedicab, bikecab, cyclo, beca, becak, trisikad, or trishaw.

It’s been a while since we posted a restoration on this page – Luca has been busy at university and is now working for a living!

So, given that there is no engine in this, and after successfully restoring my own bicycle several years ago, Pietro decided that I can have a go at this one…

Here we have, to be restored by August this year, a 1950 Asian rickshaw.

Internet research has revealed that the most likely origin is the Macau region of China – the colour is typical of rickshaws of the region, possibly derived from the colour of the flag when under Portuguese rule. Though the plate on the rear detailing ‘Tong Fong’ would appear to implicate Hong Kong in its history too.


Sunday 29th April 2018

The rickshaw arrives at Motori Di Marino after a 4.5hour, 210 mile round trip to Margate in Kent.

It appears to be absolutely untouched since leaving its land of origin; still enhanced with 50s-60s lino on the passenger footboard, screwed-down tin cans behind the seat back & two spare tubes in the under-seat basket!

A quick look underneath reveals that whilst the foot pedal on the down tube operates the rear brakes, the lever on the crossbar is a gear shift – this must be the two speed deluxe model!











Previous colours on various parts of the machine, in approximate chronological order are:- black, red, Chinese green, bottle green and yellow.


Tuesday 1st May 2018

Since Pietro doesn’t have three ramps spare in the workshop I have no option but to work on the forecourt and am totally dependent on the weather – hence no work yesterday.

Today I concentrated on removing the ‘add-ons’ – dynamo lighting kit, non-functioning rear indicators (1970’s Honda, I think), lino floor covering, framed formica panel, underseat luggage basket etc. The seat back and base just lifted off.

By the time I was done, there was quite a pile!

The bare bones of the structure were beginning to appear – bolstered by significant quantities of wood!


Saturday 5th May 2018

Having either been hampered by the weather or other duties, I have not been able to get back at it until today. However, as it is a Saturday, I have got access to the workshops, tools and an assistant (Pietro!).

The first job was to remove the hood which was not too difficult as most of the nuts and bolts were very obliging.

The next stage was to remove the woodwork. I have discovered that whilst it may be quite easy to get a rickshaw out of a shed, it’s not so easy to get the shed out of the rickshaw! Since the majority of the nuts and bolts holding on the woodwork were completely seized they required grinding off to facilitate removal. In order to get to all the fixings we had to remove the passenger body first. This was relatively simple, just two bolts at the front and two long bolts through springs at the rear were all that secured the body shell to the sub-frame.

Interesting use of a bearing as a spacer under the suspension spring!

Pietro was then able to reach the bolts, previously inaccessible, with the grinder.


So we now have a stripped passenger body and half a shed!


And a rickshaw rolling cycle chassis; and another big pile of bits!