Monday, October 09, 2006

pedicabs in ann arbor

Thanks to Homeless Dave for the photo!
Phil Farber reports to the WBWC mail list that five pedicabs are currently offering free rides outside of the Michigan Union. From chatting with the drivers, Phil got plenty of details on the program.

They were offering free rides and had 5 customers this morning. Chase bank is financing the cabs as an advertising gimmick for the next four weeks. The cabs have Chase advertising emblazoned on the sides. There were no takers during the 5 minutes or so I was talking to the drivers.

The company is Bici-Cab. They have 52 of the cabs in New York and some in a few other cities as well. The drivers make good money charging by the block. The cabs are high-quality with molded fiberglass shells, fully geared, with light-weight motorcycle wheels/tires, seating 2 + driver, made in Germany and selling for $14,000 apiece.

We are big fans of the pedicab not because they are the most efficient transportation option, but because they make any trip feel like a Sunday Stroll. A street with pedicabs runs at a slower and more enjoyable pace.

Now, whether a $14,000, fiberglass-covered cab is the best form for a pedicab to take is debatable. Of course Chase bank is not advocating pedicab design here, they are advertising and these cabs certainly sound flashy and extravagant.

So stop by the Union and take a ride, if only to enjoy the fall weather in human-powered comfort. We'd love to post a photo here, if someone could snap one.


HomelessDave said...

So I spent a chunk of the morning counting non-motorized traffic at State and Packard, then headed north towards where the pedicabs were described to be.

FOUND ONE! Took a picture. If my Mac can be restored to service, I'll share.

Bruce Fields said...

"So I spent a chunk of the morning counting non-motorized traffic at State and Packard,"

Learn anything interesting?

HomelessDave said...

What I learned at traffic counting school today:

(Adding in my afternoon shift, these are some observations about the intersection of Packard and State.)

1. Most cyclists used the sidewalks not the road.
2. Lots of young guys in suits and ties walk North on Packard to State then turn North on State.
3. Making neat hash marks is harder than you'd think.
4. Keeping track of who you've counted and who you haven't is harder than you'd think.
5. Most cyclists ride bicycles improperly adjusted for size (generally folks ride bicycles way to small to allow for proper leg extension)

Highlight of the morning was seeing a friend of mine whose bike I maintain riding in to work. Didn't recognize her and just counted her as a Northbound cyclist on Packard using the sidewalk going with traffic. At the light, I thought, Hmm I've seen that bike and that headlight and ... Hey! I know who that is! And it turns out that having a conversation about what you're doing and actually counting well is also harder than you'd think.