Himalayas, the view from the flight into Guwahati.

Hi! Welcome to our blog. 6 students and our resident old guy bike guru have ventured half way around the world to rock the world of rickshaws everywhere, but mostly here in Assam.

This fall semester we were part of the D-Lab: CycleVentures class,
where we investigated the history of bicycle design and how we can apply some MIT Engineering to the rickshaws that serve as transport for goods and people all over India.

We’ll be working with Rickshaw Bank, a project of India NGO Center for Rural Development. Rickshaw Bank loans rickshaws to drivers on a micro-credit basis until they’ve paid off and own their vehicle. Among other things, we’ve prepared to implement designs for a few key projects. In all of these designs we’re looking to make improvements that are simple and repeatable for manufacturing without adding significant cost.

Suspension fork- Roads are rough here. Drivers have long days in the saddle and often carry passengers, so we aim to develop a low-cost (<$10) front suspension fork to absorb potholes and smooth the ride.

Power measurement- Everyone loves data. We’ve designed a relatively inexpensive and easy to install device that will measure chain tension by it’s deflection of a tensioner cog, and from this we’ll be able to measure the relative efficiency of any future design changes.

Truss frame re-design- The current design for the horizontal rear half of the frame utilizes heavy solid bar stock and little reinforcement. Because of this frames break at the connection point between the front and rear sections. We’re working on a truss design that will use more weight-to-strength efficient tubing to build a stronger and lighter frame frame.


About Cycle Ventures

7 cool kids building rickshaws in Northeast India.
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