Trikke it up!
Want to add a dash of adventure to your daily commute? Tunali Mukherjee test-drives the Trikke, a 3-point clambering vehicle that promises to be the next-big-thing in eco-friendly travel and sports, and just won't take the car to work anymore
The best thing about the Trikke,” assures Digen Verma, CEO of Trikke India, leering dangerously off this 3-wheeled vehicle, “is that no matter what you do, it just won’t topple over.” The next minute I lay sprawled across the ground, my Trikke lying a few feet away from me. My next vehicle, eh? I thought not. But it didn’t take long to change my mind.
Named one of the best inventions of 2002 by Time Magazine, the Trikke (pronounced Trike) is a human-powered machine that utilises Trikke Tech’s patented 3CV technology to allow a rider to propel a chainless, pedal-less device forward without ever touching foot to ground. Available in manual and electric variants, the vehicle reaches a top speed of around 35 kmph and for the electric battery-powered, can travel up to 40 kms on a single charge. Did I mention what a perfect way it is to pamper your adventure-hungry self?
Learning to ride this vehicle is fun, and coming from yours truly, who does not even know how to ride a cycle (gasp!), it sure is simple. True, compared to the smooth Californian roads that Trikke enjoys the most popularity on, our roads back home may pose a bit of a challenge with their multiple potholes in various shapes and sizes, but keep a helmet handy and you’ll be just fine. The Trikke handles small potholes easily, but a smooth surface is best. It also folds itself into a handy size that can be easily carried around and fits into the boot of any car, so it makes for a handy travel companion too.
For a vehicle that looks so powerful and smooth to ride, the Trikke is extremely easy to control. A handle to accelerate and two brakes a la a bike, I was soon gliding across the road. Afraid of falling? No problem. Like Verma mentioned before, I found out that the Trikke is extremely well-balanced and you will topple over only if you try really hard to.
The Trikke has many advantages in a city like Mumbai. For one, it’s eco-friendly. Human propelled and with electric rechargeable Li-Ion batteries like the ones we use in our phones, the Trikke zips past all the polluting vehicles and the traffic with ease, and lets you look good while at it. Celebrity Trikkers include Brangelina and our very own Big B, who apparently is
so impressed by this device that he’s ordered a few variations.There’s something in it for fitness buffs too. You need to manoeuvre it physically, your legs balancing you upright on the vehicle and your arms controlling the direction and speed, making it an enjoyable full-body workout. Verma informs me that a study concluded that the Trikke takes all pressure off the joints, so it is safe for all ages and body types to ride. “A 60 year-old can ride the Trikke as well as a 6 year-old,” he says.
Coming back to this reporter’s riding handicap, I must admit that manoeuvring the Trikke along the turns was a challenge. And just as I stepped off the vehicle (can I even call it that?) for the umpteempth time to manually turn it around (it’s surprisingly light), a teenager passed me by, effortlessly gliding along the road, wowing passerbys around. Judging by the envious looks it was attracting, it’s just a matter of time before everyone’s going to want to own one of these babies.
The success of this new kid on the block can be judged just by the sheer number of times I was stopped on the road by inquisitive passerbys, both on foot and in swanky cars. Answering questions from “What is this thing you’re riding?” to “Where can I get one?”, you will be the cynosure of the roads with the Trikke. It sure made me feel like royalty on three wheels. It’s no surprise that Verma has already sold 150 pieces of this vehicle around the country, which is officially launching on September 4 in the city. “I’ve sold 50 on the spot, thanks to people coming up to me while I’m riding and ordering one then and there,” beams Verma.
At the end of my one-hour stint with the Trikke, I can safely say I’m in love. The speed, the thrill, the joy of that which is simple, easy, fun and most importantly, eco-friendly — my weekends are never going to be the same again. The Trikke can be ordered online from www.trikkeindia.com. Various models are available from the range of Rs 11,000 to Rs 1,30,000.