DirtNail Pedicab and Mobile Advertising is happy to be a member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Check out my ugly mug on the news, talking about the Austin pedicab market.
Adonis and I have made a custom trailer braking system that we can fit to any trailers. Pics to soon follow.
It’s Saturday night and the city is alive. A cool breeze drifts through the streets while thousands of people scurry about, drunk, sober, singles, couples, families and degenerates all engaged together in a rhythmic dance, taking them from bar to bar in hopes of finding the ultimate party. I’m feeling confident that tonight is going to be lucrative so I make my first approach outside of Halcyon.
“Need a ride?” I ask a girl, waiting on the corner. She tosses her cigarette on the ground and, replies “No thanks, I need a real cab.” I’m slightly taken aback by this and I start to wonder what exactly her implications might mean. Am I not a REAL person, riding a REAL pedicab asking if she wanted a REAL ride? I’m not sure how to respond so I do what any confused individual would do, I smile and nod. She walks off in search of the almighty REAL cab leaving me with a slight feeling of underachievement. Is it possible that we pedicabers are somehow lower on the totem pole than the yellow cabs? It only takes me a second to conclude that she obviously comes from a long line of “butthorns”, and was never properly taught common politeness. Perhaps a good scalping is in order.
Typically people are really pleasant and those that aren’t are few and far between. One of my favorite things about pedicabbing is in fact meeting new people, hearing the small bits of their lives that they choose to share with me during the duration of our short ride together, telling my stories and listening to theirs, it’s something that I enjoy. Maybe that’s why I decided to start pedicabbing in the first place. The overall ability to connect with the world around us is something that the majority of people have a hard time at, whereas we pedicabbers pay our rent by doing so.
Riding back to the shop at the end of the night with a pocket full of cash and a breakfast burrito from Taco Cabana on my mind, I start to get an overwhelming feeling of hope. Being out under the night sky, pedaling my bike through the city streets to make a living is nothing short of liberating. There are no cubicles here, no break rooms, no clocks to punch, we are free and completely lacking that “void” that is experienced by so many people cramped into small offices with their heads down as they “zone out” to make their mandatory 8 hours go by as quick as possible. We are alive!
One of my Riders, whom shall remain anonymous, has decided to start a blog, detailing his experiences driving a pedicab. Updates shall be posted here from time to time.
The Mystical Magical Austin Pedicab Blog
This blog will document my adventures in dricing a pedicab through the streets of Austin, TX and hopefully answer the question I have been asked multiple times during myfirst week of riding; why pedicab? The question catches me off guard as I begin to
pedal my bike down Lavaca st with a newly acquired 200 lbs sitting comfortably in
my cab as I make way towards our destination. To answer my passengers question
could take hours, months, even years of describing a life spent embracing the
“starving artist” lifestyle while still trying to maintain financial responsibility and avoiding the dreaded day job at all costs.
I let out a friendly laugh and simply reply, “I don’t know” My passenger lights a cigarette and leans back in my cab as I pedal faster through the city streets in an effort to ensure we arrive at our destination swiftly and possibly even safely. The truth is that this lucky passenger is one of a small few that have had the pleasure of being passengers of my pedicab. This is my first week out and I am on night number 3. Being “new” at driving a pedicab isn’t like being “new” at other jobs. Training consists of ensuring that a rider can properly attach his or her pedicab to a bicycle and get passengers to and from destinations in a safe and pleasant manner. The lack of actual “rules” can sound appealing to some but those of us that get excited at this idea have to remember that without some entity telling us what to do and when to do it, we become solely responsible for how much money we make, how often we work, who we give rides to, how we conduct ourselves during stressful situations while working etc etc. In short we are living the American dream. Our destiny if you will, is completely in our hands.
Once I reach my passengers destination, he stumbles out of the cab and
fumbles through his wallet in an effort to pay me for my services. “Hows 20” he asks
as he holds a crisp bill in the air. “That’s perfect” I respond with a smile on my face.
Twenty dollars for a 5 minute ride through the city is more than fair. Not all rides
are as pleasant as this. My second ride ever was given to a group of drunk college
girls. Six blocks of them squealing in my ear to go faster ended with me counting out
three dollars as I regained my stamina for the next ride after dropping them off at
some “hot club” on West 6th street. We can’t expect every ride we give to go well.
Sometimes the world needs to remind us that we are degenerates offering people
rides on our bikes in a never ending effort to get the bills paid and have money to
keep our vices alive and well.
All in all my first week of riding proved to be not only lucrative, but intensely
fun. It’s hard to describe the feeling one gets riding through downtown operating a
pedicab. It is something that has to be experienced to understand. Hopefully this
blog will give you the reader an inside look into the world of driving a pedicab, and
hopefully it will help to answer that question: “why pedicab?”
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I just got off the train in San Francisco today. Here are some reflections on my trip to Portland, as it pertains to pedicab shops and riders. I am going to try to break it down to a list of things you need to do to ride, own a shop there.
1. Season Portland has a very short riding season. They operate optimally between May and September. The other months are cold enough to freeze most people out. The exception to this seems to be Kyle’s Shop (I forget the name. How do they achieve this? The ever popular canopy with plastic wraparound. Do not run without these in Portland if you want a chance of running all year round. Kyle also does a good job at two other things. He has worked out deals with many local businesses (mostly breweries) for tours. He also does a very good job with year round ad booking(something all of us in Austin could do better.
The rain also means that one needs much better gear to ride hear.
All in all, I would much rather pedicab in Austin.
Possibly the single most important pedicab meeting of our lives. Clear your schedule. Show up.
Marcy Cardona Says:
“I would like to invite all of you to a meeting here, 1111 Rio Grande, on August 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm. We will discuss a permanent cap and the issue of trailers versus trikes.
We hope to see all of you here.”
Marcy Cardona, Administrative Specialist
Ground Transportation Enforcement Section
AUSTIN TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT
(512) 974-1551 F (512) 974-1560
DirtNail Pedicab is hiring new riders. Apply here.
To riders: There are a handful of cyclist advocates and this is the best in Austin. These are also the only people in town that are advocating for you to be able to keep doing your job with as many freedoms and protections as possible. For those not at the Ground Transportation meetings, Tom Wald played a large part in helping get the cops off out back. He did it without backing down, and without getting paid. Its only about a nights lease to join. Pedicab just one more day and donate it and feel good about doing your part all year.
To Owners: Tom is making sure that our industry stays possible in legal in Austin. He works on our behalf tirelessly for the city. I wish we could form a pedicab businesses association(not a bad idea, eh) and put him on a salary but we can at least all do our part by joining up for at least $100.
DirtNail Pedicabs has joined at the business membership level.
Thanks to Hannah and Russell for throwing and amazing pedicab prom. It was wonderful to see all the old pedicab riders and and new pedicab riders in one place. Hopefully it will become a yearly event. DirtNail was the host of the Austin Pedicab Prom After-party. Beers were drank, roofs were sat on and songs were sung. Pardon the lack of belt and saggy pants but here is the video. PediCab Bohemian Rhapsody
Thanks to Dawson O’connor Smith. He is an amazing with a video camera. If you liked the video then check out his website.