Austin pedicab test — Pedicabs

Austin pedicab test

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This 2005 article take from the Austin American Statesman jobs section:

Pedicab driver goes the extra mile for downtown Austin passengersBy David GlessnerSpecial Sections StaffSunday, May 29, 2005He’s never won the Tour de France, but to Austin night owls in need of a lift, Paul Miranda is a cycling chamAs a driver for Capital Pedicab, Miranda works for tips ferrying passengers to and from their downtown-area destinations on his modified, 21-speed passenger, three-wheeled pedicab. In two years of late-night pedal pushing, Miranda has chauffeured everyone from roaring party animals to cooing lovebirds.

After 2 a.m. we get pretty busy when the clubs let out, ” he says. “A few of us will stay out later for the stragglers. There’s always someone who’s drunk and needs to get to a taxi or a hotel. Sometimes pedicabbing can be like counseling.”
Miranda says he was required to obtain a chauffeur’s license, have a clean criminal record and pass a written test before he could be employed at Capital Pedicab. Today, he trains other drivers and helps with pedicab maintenance when he’s not making the downtown rounds. Still, he says, meeting and talking to a wide range of people during his four- to six-hour shifts is the best part of the job.
“Wedding receptions are cool, ” he says. “We sometimes get rented out for special events. It’s kind of cool to have cans hanging off the back of my cab and be riding downtown.
“Miranda guesses he travels anywhere from eight to 20 miles per night (and endures about as many wisecracks from passengers requesting rides to Houston and Dallas or asking about his leg muscles). The, hem, legwork has its benefits, he says, but as with any workout, proper preparation is key.
“I drink lots of water, ” Miranda says. “Stretching definitely helps. I try to eat all organic or vegan food, and I eat a lot of fresh fruit for good energy.”
Conditioning is especially important given Austin’s summer heat.
“Even at night, it’s hot, ” Miranda says. “One ride can leave you drenched, but it’s a good feeling. Wind is actually something that makes it harder than the cold or heat. The wind can make it feel like there’s four more people in the cab.
“As expected, there are hazards aplenty when it comes to navigating through Austin traffic.
“I had a car rear-end me at a red light once, ” Miranda says. “You’ve got to watch for potholes and glass. Most motorists respect us.”
Not surprisingly, Miranda has mastered some tricks of the trade to help him bypass red lights and busy intersections. He makes use of alleyways and times his approach to red lights and stop signs for minimal wasted energy. He also wears special shoes and biking shorts to optimize comfort.