Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Chariot of Derry

Just back in Northern Ireland, and I've ended up at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Derry. It was, as they say here, legen-Derry. Har har.

It was rainy,

sunny,

carnival-like,

secular,

spectacularly crowded, yet surprisingly sober and lacking in rowdiness.

It was also not without a touch of bikeyness. Or, rather, trikeyness. One of the parade's main attractions was this marvelous old rickshaw chariot. Pine green. Double top tube. Rod brakes. Derailleur gearing. It originally hails from India, the grand forest elf astride it told me.

Bedecked in flowers, a patchwork canopy and lanterns, this thing was just gorgeous.

It attracted good will and cheer as it made its way down the city street at a parade pace of about 1mph.

Not a bad start to the week, all things considered.

Happy Monday everyone. Spring is here!

22 comments:

  1. Definitely a cooler looking event then what's usually thrown around here. Much more colorful too. That bike is pretty sweet.

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    1. That was the most energetic and colourful I've seen Derry by far, as well as the most crowded!

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    2. The parade this year was not usual for Derry in scope or attendance. Glad you enjoyed it and welcome back.

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    3. That is good to know. None of my friends here had been since they were kids, so they had no basis for comparison.

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  2. I am so curious about this! More pictures of non bike stuff please?

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    1. Working on it, I have like 200 shots to go through :) -will post a link!

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  3. Wow! World Traveler !

    vsk / Starting to see The Sun in Brooklyn, NY

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    1. a relatively small corner of the world all things considered : )

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  4. Looks thoroughly pagan to me! So colourful, in N America, St Paddy's day is always about green shamrocks and beer, not much else.
    Something tells me this is somewhere I want to live...

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  5. What a fantastic parade. Even on those cold, wet, and windy days you have, everything looks beautiful in Ireland!

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  6. Derry is one of my favourite places in Ireland, along with Craggy Island, of course.

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    1. had to stop going to Craggy Island after a massive tea and sandwiches overdose.

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  7. Spring is not quite here yet and we are waiting impatiently! And we are shopping for a cargo bike! Any thoughts on xtracycle vs bakfiets? I bet my kids would love to ride in a Rickshaw, but those are not available :)

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    1. Pretty sure Anthropology sold bike rickshaws on their website last year… though I suspect either the Xtra or Bakfiets would make a better choice :)

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  8. There was an entire fleet of bikes at the Dublin parade!

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    1. Must have been the Dublin Cycling Campaign; I hear they showed up on vintage roadsters.

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  9. Lovely...to steal a word.

    To paraphrase an Irish blessing now that you're back in Ireland:

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft after your ride.

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  10. Derry has a strong tradition of mischievous secular parading, especially at Hallowe'en, and often features not just pagan imagery but also anticlerical, people dressed up as nuns in fishnet stockings, that sort of thing.
    I don't think the church has anything to do with this or could have.
    I just take the contrast between Ireland and Irish America as reflecting the distance between the two cultures, which have evolved apart for 150 years. It would have been unthinkable to ban LGBT people from marching in Derry or Belfast, the way they were banned in New York. I doubt it would even have been legal to ban them. Both Belfast and Derry have strong Gay Pride parades in July. It may be that Ireland just isn't religious anymore though Irish America is.

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  11. About that Indian rickshaw: I notice that the chainring (and crank) are very aftermarket, the originals having cottered steel cranks with rings of 44-46 teeth and gearing that require the "driver" to stand most of the time.

    Rod brakes: do both levers operate the front brake? Or is there somehow linkage to rear wheel or wheels? All academic, because no rod brake system I used could stop even a child's bike.

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    1. I've ridden exactly 1 bike with rod brakes that stopped adequately (as adequately as a bike with caliper brakes), even in the rain. The dozen or so others I've ridden were not what I would consider street safe. So while overall I am dismissive of rod brakes, the memory of that single functional one gnaws at me, whispering "it is possible Dear, it is possible…"

      I did not have time to examine the rickshaw closely, but it looked like it had some sort of double front and double rear brake system. How functional they are is another matter! Though to be fair, the grand elf was able to stop just fine when going at parade pace.

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    2. That Beast is fascinating. I would LOVE a crack at it, partly in spite of and partly BECAUSE of the disaster potential of a 300kg. machine with multiple gears and rod-brakes! I really think that deep down I just want one of everything.

      I've only ever ridden one Rickshaw, years ago, also Indian, but it was fixed and had the rider in back sitting high looking over the heads of the passengers/detainees/plaintiffs. It hinged in the middle to steer and everything about it required huge efforts. I don't recall if it even had any brakes, but I do remember rolling it on it's side backing up too fast and clipping a curb. It gradually and irresistibly heeled over and, hmmm, swooned seems to be the word, in something like the final agony of a torpedoed battleship. It was a "prop" at a fundraiser for some Mennonite Missionaries. I don't think I was supposed to be riding it but the details are kind of dim now... I do remember thinking(while walking briskly from the scene, hands in pocket whistling "When we walk with the Lord") how I ought to try to get my hands on one of my own sometime.

      Spindizzy

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  12. The makeup on the two little woodland elves in the second-to-last picture is really well done. They look like they came that way.

    There is a nearly identical Indian-made rod-brake rickshaw here in Santa Cruz. Cool thing, but looks like it weighs 350 lbs before passenger weight is added.

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