Smaller than a pedal car, a pedicab is a giant tricycle with a carriage. It's like a tuk tuk except it is powered by the pedalling of the driver.

These contraptions may seat two to three passengers and have gears. In South East Asia they're called cyclos and in places where they speak variants of British English they're called baxis (biycycle taxi).

In good weather, a pedicab ride can be an excellent way to get around as a passenger. Operating a pedicab necessitates very strong leg muscles and probably makes a rickshaw look like a cakewalk. Of course, a pedicab operator must obey the same traffic laws as car drivers.

Operating a pedicab for profit will require a license. The cost of such a license will vary from area to area. Typically pedicab drivers rent their pedicabs from a company which is able to house and service a large number of pedicabs. Said company may also have someone available to receive calls and direct drivers towards passengers as well as a mechanic on staff.

I worked as a pedicab driver for exactly one night wherein I lost money after paying my "training fee" and around forty dollars for my operator's license. Knowing my way around and being in better shape would have helped a lot; it was my bad luck that the couple I picked up was overweight and that the weather was terribly cold.

The company I attempted to work for stipulated that all fares were purely tip-based, meaning that there was no set rate for distance. Making money meant chatting up the passengers while navigating busy city streets.

If you are thinking of working as a pedicab operator, I highly caution you. You can make good money (especially during sporting events, tourist season or music festivals) doing so but you will work your ass off for that dough. Don't expect to pick it up overnight. Don't expect to be offered health insurance. Operating a pedicab successfully requires a good working knowledge of how to shift the gears of a regular bicycle as well as knowledge of the rules of the road and a willingness to follow them.

If you see a pedicab offer you a ride and you have the time, I encourage you to take it. Chances are that they know what they're doing. Either way, you'll get a good story out of it.

In the US I know that D.C., Boston, Seattle, New York City, New Orleans and Austin all have pedicab companies. /msg me if you know of other places which also do.

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