The Grand Trunk Road - Behind the Scenes
Elephants, Bicycles and Rickshaws
You canít compare rickshaws with Bradford taxis, no way! Over there youíre cruising in a Honda 2.2 nought injection, and over here itís a very tight ride, very uncomfortable hard seats. Do you know what I mean? Over there, itís like sitting at home on the sofa, is Bradford taxis.
Since we were producing an exhibition about a road, we could not ignore the different modes of transport we encountered on our journey. We photographed camels, cows, decorated trucks and Vespa scooters, but we were taken completely by surprise when we saw an elephant marching up the Grand Trunk Road (image 1). As it overtook our stationery vehicle, it was so close to my passenger seat that I could feel the car shake with the impact of the elephantís footsteps.
We visited the headquarters of Hero Cycles in Ludhiana (image 2), the largest bicycle factory in the world. Situated right on the Grand Trunk Road, Hero Cycles produce around 16,000 bicycles every day which are exported to 89 countries including USA, UK, South Africa, Japan and Pakistan. Inside the factory we realised there was so much material for us to capture that we decided to split up. While Tim identified a number of locations that were suitable for photographs, I went into the yard to interview the truck drivers that were waiting for their vehicles to be loaded with bicycles.
In Ludhiana, we also visited the Punjab Cycle Rickshaw Company (image 3), where we saw cycle rickshaws being put together by hand. A cycle rickshaw is basically a large tricycle with a shelter on top and a double seat facing forwards for a couple of passengers. When we discovered they cost as little as £50, we were tempted to buy one to display alongside the exhibition. What put us off was wondering how we would get it back to the UK on a plane.
See where Ludhiana is.»