Drivers participate in a race of cyclo, a three-wheeled bicycle-propelled rickshaw, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on June 23, 2019. The first cyclo racing, or rickshaw racing was held here on Sunday in a bid to preserve the waning cyclos and to encourage foreign tourists to ride cyclos for city tours, an organizer said. (Xinhua/Sovannara)
PHNOM PENH, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The first cyclo racing, or rickshaw racing was held here on Sunday in a bid to preserve the waning cyclos and to encourage foreign tourists to ride cyclos for city tours, an organizer said.
Cyclo is a three-wheeled bicycle-propelled rickshaw that the driver perches above the rear wheel and the passengers sit in a bucket seat slung between the two front wheels.
Im Sambath, executive director of the Cyclo Conservation Association, said more than 100 cyclo drivers took part in the 800-meter racing, which attracted hundreds of spectators.
"There are 136 cyclo drivers joining the race," he told Xinhua. "Our purpose is to promote this old-fashioned means of transport, and currently, cyclos are popular among tour operators as well as foreign tourists."
Cyclos used to be a popular mode of transport in Cambodia during the French colonial rule about a century ago, but it's now on the brink of disappearance since people have chosen to travel by modern and faster means of transport such as taxi and motorized rickshaws.
It is estimated that the number of cyclos has dropped to more than 300 nowadays from over 10,000 during the French colonial rule.
Chov Doeuk, a 47-year-old cyclo operator, said the racing event has not only created a pleasant atmosphere for cyclo drivers, but also promoted this old mode of transport to foreign tourists.
"It preserves cyclos and encourages cyclo drivers to continue their jobs in order to save cyclos from disappearance," he told Xinhua.
"As a cyclo driver, I suggest that the government continue to help preserve cyclos for next generations because I think that for this job, only old people do it, for the young ones, they may not like it," said Doeuk, who earns about five U.S. dollars per day from the cyclo job.