Some questions I'm often asked while out with my pedicab:
Q: What IS THIS!?!
A: Call it a rickshaw, pedicab, bike taxi, sidecar bike, or even the "Chariot of Fire". If you want to get technical, call it an asymmetrical passenger tricycle.
Q: Do you give rides?
A: Yep. I don't just drive a big wide sidecar bike around for no reason!
Q: How much do you charge?
A: I accept tips, monetary or otherwise, in the amount decided by the passengers at the conclusion of their ride.
Q: Will you take me up Mill St./West Washington/North Lancaster/West State St.?
A: Depends. I will decline on taking certain fares if the payload and route will be too difficult. No amount of money would make it even remotely possible for me to carry you and your girlfriend up to the Summit. However, in some cases I agree to meet passengers at the crest of a hill to go down the other side on streets like West Washington.
Q: Will you take me down Mill St./Richland Ave./Union St./East State St.?
A: For sure! These routes are the easiest and the most fun for everyone.
Q: Will you take me up Court street?
A: Sorry, it's a one-way street and that would be breaking the law.
Q: Will you take us around the block?
A: I will give joyride loops to paying customers, although they can be harder because there's usually some uphill as well as down.
Q: How far will you go?
A: Provided there are no prolonged or steep uphills on your route, I can take passengers as far as the city limits.
Q: It's my birthday. Will you give me a ride for free? (note: only women ever ask this question)
A: Just because you have existed for a fractionless number of years does not mean you can get all the things you want for free (but you'll try to for as long as you can, I know.). Have your friends pay for a ride if you really want one. Free rides are given only to close friends of mine, or in those situations where I feel like the customer is in great need of a ride and will tip generously the next time.
Q: How much is a good/average tip?
A: Depends on the distance or elevation change, but on the whole I think the average tip is $7, so anything in the neighborhood of $10 is considered a good tip. The minimum tip is $1, which is a perfectly acceptable amount for rides of a block or less.
Q: Do people ever not pay you for their ride?
A: It happens maybe once a week. 90% of the time the ditchers are female. I make plenty of good tips to make up for it, though, so I'm not too worried about it.
Q: How much money do you make?
A: It varies from $30 to over $100 a night depending on the crowd uptown. I average around $26/hr
Q: When do you do this?
A: Most weekends, starting on Thursday (AKA little Friday), weather permitting. Hours I'm out are generally 12AM to 3AM. Sometimes I'm out other times, though. Check my Twitter feed for activity.
Q: How long have you been doing this?
A: I started pedicabbing in 2009 and began driving my own cabs in 2010
Q: How did you get started doing this?
A: In April 2009 I met this man who imported from the Middle East for over 25 years, and he had four India rickshaws sitting unused in a barn. We arranged for me to fix a few up and use them for a percentage of my earnings. I got hooked on pedicab driving, but it was much too difficult and dangerous to be using out-of-date rickshaws in a hilly place like Athens. Before too long, I made a switch to the lighter, nimbler, and more versatile sidecar bikes, and have been quite successful since.
Q: Did you build this bike yourself?
A: Yes. The brand name for my bikes is called UpCycle, and I build them out of my garage at home with a Hobart 140 MIG welder.
Q: Are we going to crash/tip over?
A: Nobody wants that to happen, and both are quite easily preventable. My cab has 3 brakes and a super-loud air horn for warning anyone in the way. Your biggest concern while on board should be keeping in your seat, because I cannot be responsible for that.
Q: Why do you do this?
A: 1. It's hella fun! 2. It makes good bank. 3. It solves all the problems in the world.