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Bicycle Rickshawing – A Traveling Occupation

So I’m sure you either live in, or have found yourself in some city where you may possibly be in the carriage of someone pedaling you around town on their bicycle; this system of taxi being better known as the rickshaw or pedicab. It’s become a regular late night form of transportation in cities anywhere from Washington, D.C., to Portland, OR. Of course, this is a seasonal occurrence in many places, but that’s the magic of it. Only during the loveliest times of year can you find yourself staring at the well maintained back side of someone as they pedal you to your next destination. And then like summer itself, they are gone, on to their next adventure. Which is most likely south…to somewhere even better than the city you last found them in, like say Key West, FL or Austin, TX.

Pedicabbing has become a way for people to make money with the instant gratification of nightly tips while adding in the fun of traveling to where that money is. Like the bartender you just closed your tab out with, pedicabbers work for tips alone; you decide how much that ride was worth, how many hills that person had to climb to get you home. Pedicabbers can find themselves at all sorts of events ranging from Presidential Inauguration to the Kentucky Derby, and all kinds of various festivals in between. Some people work for companies, meaning they have to pay that company to rent the rickshaw for the night and whatever profit is made is theirs to keep. Others who are more committed to the lifestyle, own their own rickshaws, which can be shockingly affordable. Some rides may come with wicked music, others with crazy stories, you never really know. And that’s the draw of it. There is something incredibly organic in someone using their body and their energy to get you somewhere other than where you currently are. And unlike a conventional taxi, interaction and conversation is required with pedicabbing.

So the next time you’re waiting on the street outside your local watering hole with twenty other people attempting to hail a cab…try jumping into the carriage of that cute cyclist instead. Who knows where the night will lead. Or better yet, the next time you want an adventure, find a city you want to be in, find a company you want to represent, and start pedaling. If you don’t like it in this place, try the next town. At the very least, you’ll meet some new people.


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