April 7, 1997 |
The crowd was cheering and ringing cow bells. The teams had come from universities as far away as Hawaii, New York and Canada. The contestants raced around the track on contraptions that had a faint resemblance to bicycles. No, this wasn't some sort of funky NCAA sporting event. It was the 15th Annual Human Powered Vehicle Competition, a matchup of creativity and engineering know-how as well as physical strength.
March 29, 2010 |
In a gloomy building off Ganguly Street with 12-foot ceilings and floors carpeted with wood chips, Mohammad Manawwar spends his days building the obsolete. Nearly half a century ago, his father and grandfather taught him how to hand-craft a rickshaw, shaping the spokes and outer arc of the oversized wheels from pieces of ash and lining the bucket seat with a pillow of flax. "For years, they've threatened to close us down," he said. "But we're still here." Welcome to Kolkata, where poverty, inertia and entrenched interests have made this former capital of the Raj a soulful, somewhat squalid bastion of fading traditions and technologies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 2003 |
The flag drops today on the second-most-famous race of the Memorial Day weekend: the 35th Annual Arcata to Ferndale World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race. Unlike the Indianapolis 500, the Kinetic Sculpture Race is slow and silent, because the entertaining homemade racers must be human-powered. The 38-mile course has the intrepid racers trudging through sand, water, road and mud.
September 7, 1996 |
Every day, for 12 hours on average, Ayodhya, a 35-year-old Calcutta slum dweller, turns himself into a beast of burden to feed himself, his wife and three children. Skinny and barely five feet tall, he grabs the wooden forks of his rickshaw and lugs people through the crowded streets of Calcutta for about 15 cents a mile. On a good day, the illiterate economic migrant from Bihar, India's poorest state, clears around $2.
October 4, 1995 |
You'll pardon Joe Grutzik if his bicycle appears to have the hiccups. Grutzik's invention--a half scooter, half mountain bike that lurches itself across the pavement--is what old-timers might call a high-falutin' contraption, of the what-in-tarnation class. Grutzik can hear the know-it-all codgers now: "Some fella had a mighty poor eye who built that front wheel; the axle's all haywire." Which, of course, is the whole idea.
July 28, 1992 |
Gentlemen, start your engines. No . . . wait . . . charge your batteries. It's the environmental '90s, and although the sports car race set for Sunday in Long Beach may be as competitive as the Indy 500, it won't be as noisy or polluting. The Electrathon Competition will feature ultra-light electric vehicles with limited battery packs speeding silently around the Queen Mary parking lot, their drivers testing who can go farthest before running out of power in a one-hour rally.