Jul 19, 2007

Tackling tram lines in Kolkata

While riding pillion yesterday across the city from Park Street to Wellington to pick up a new lid we had ordered, I saw a completely new perspective of the Iron rails that have been laid by the Calcutta Tramways Corporation for the 2 bogeyed iron beasts to rattle all over the serpentine streets.

Tram lines nowadays come in a variety of surfaces beside them.
1) Concrete. This is the easiest to tackle. Its almost like the rails are not there at all. They are almost flush with the road surface and do not pose any real threat to riders. Just be careful while its wet, cause in the wet, traction on metallic surfaces = 0!

2) Tarmac. This is the tricky bit guys. In most places the iron rails are well above 3 inches higher than the road surface. The rails themselves have a deep well running all through to keep the trams on track with the iron wheels sinking into the void and staying there. Trouble is, most bike tyres will also sink in and stay there, making steering a move as useless as a reverse gear on a Platina! So avoid crossing these lines. In the event that you have to, tackle them at an angle of 45 degress so that there is no way you can get the front or the rear stuck at the mercy of the rails!

3) Stone bricks. This is a nightmare! Stay away from such patches (though there are only a very few left now and these too will thankfully go away) at all costs. If its raining, take another route. If your girlfriend lives on such a street, tell her to walk it till the stretch is done away with. If she is adamant, well just stay as far as possible from the centre of the road where the rails run!

That should get you going on the Kolkata streets.. And one more thing, be most careful where the road bends and so does the tramline. In these sections, one side of the rails have a much higher metal plate running to keep the tram wheels from derailing. Even cars start 'tramlining' here!

Ride Safe!


Satadru said...

Agreed! Agreed! Agreed!

However, 90% of the bikers that I come across, do not care much for such safety measures.

Whenever I see a "banda" on my rearview mirror, racing along the tram lines at a speed which is uncalled for, I immediately make way for such "bandars".

I have a very high regard for my life and limbs and, hence, always err on the side of caution.


Max said...

Would you forgive the indiscretion if I said - sounds like fun ;-) ?( very wicked wink!)

naah....safety first always...right?