Pedicab Alternative — Pedicabs

Pedicab Alternative

Pedicab driver Roger Lussier stretches out on his green chariot.PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METROPedicab driver Roger Lussier stretches out on his green chariot.PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Thirty-one-year-old Roger Lussier loves his city.

Luckily for him, he gets to spend his day boasting about it to tourists, rubbing elbows with its residents and taking in the city’s iconic sights – all while working on his undoubtedly impressive glutes.

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What exactly is a Pedicab?

It’s a 21-speed mountain bike attached to a fiber-glass tub with a padded seat on it
A lot of people call it a lot of different things. A rickshaw is actually not the correct term, but it has become an Americanized way of describing a pedicab. A rickshaw is technically the cabs you pull as you run. The running ones aren’t as common in America.

How did you get into the biz?

My friend was one of the original six pedicabbers. He’d been doing it for five years, and told me about an opportunity. I was a bartender at Our House West, which closed. I was jobless, and he knew I knew the city really well. Being a pedicab driver is similar to bartending in a lot of ways because it’s about creating a relationship with the person. I’ve had people hop on my pedicab and just want to talk.

What’s it like navigating the often cranky streets of Boston?

Pedicab driver Roger Lussier embarks on a fare. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METROPedicab driver Roger Lussier embarks on a fare. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

It’s one of those things where when I’m riding a bike I kind of give a side eye to pedestrians, and when I’m driving I don’t want to deal with bikes. People who drive in the city respond well if you’re communicative; if you’re making eye contact and using hand signals, or waving and pointing. I think that’s why I’ve managed to ride so far without out any accidents.

How do you usually get their attention?

Depends on what part of the city we’re in. Sometimes just yelling “pedicab rides here!” works out pretty well. We’ll say, “open fare rides” or ‘”pay what you want rides.” You kind of establish your own technique, and as long as you’re not bumming out all the other pedicab drivers with your technique, it works well.

Speaking of fare, how much does it cost to catch a ride?

We have an open fare system, which allows a give and take. What I’ve started saying in the last few years is “pay me what you think I’ve earned.” I found people respond pretty well to that. Some hop on, and have an idea of what they expect. Hopefully I exceed that idea through my knowledge of sports, and the city itself; with my sense of humor, and hopefully, my driving ability. I always ask them, “What was it worth to you?”

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