Newburyport Today is pleased to be able to bring our readers the comments and observations of Newburyport Pedicab driver Paul Kelly. This is Paul’s 3rd season pedaling, and he has been kind enough to agree to share his experiences with us.
Do I dare use the four letter F-word (after all, this is a family publication) … ? Oh well, here goes: F-A-L-L !
No, we scream, as if in a nightmare, pedicabs sliding backwards down State, our heels digging into the asphalt all the way downhill to Market Square, it can’t be! After an excellent Saturday afternoon with temperatures in the upper 70s, by 9PM temperatures to 62 degrees in Market Square. By the time I finished pedaling after midnight, it was below 60. Everyone was putting on a sweatshirt, that is, everyone that had brought extra clothes. Our few remaining passengers shivered in the cool breeze, unprepared, as we whisked them home at the end of the evening; fortunately, we were beat so the ride was slow and the breeze minimal. It’s time to stock the pedicabs with fleece blankets for the comfort of our passengers. However, the drivers are in a pickle garment-wise. I usually wear a short sleeve microfiber t-shirt and light nylon shorts when pedaling: the material wicks the sweat away. When the season gets cooler, I put on a long sleeve biking shirt underneath to stay warm when idle and regret wearing when pedaling passengers. At least there is one positive from the cool weather – no mosquitoes.
Pedicabbing 101, Rule #7: Never take a break in Market Square at delivery time: I took a moment to talk with some pedestrians in Market Square, and when I returned, I found Starbucks’ delivery man, Mor, trying out my pedicab for size. I was trapped by his 18-wheeler, with no way out until he finished his delivery of milk Mor asked about driving – it would be a change of pace for him, not necessarily that the pedicab could move all that Marketing Specialty Foods supplies.
What do pedicab drivers do during downtime? Foot traffic, and consequently cab traffic, has its up and down times, and each driver has his method for increasing the “up time.” I was waiting late Saturday evening in Market Square with Matt, another driver – it was nearly time for us to turn our cabs in – when Matt suddenly took off across the street, disappeared into the crowd in front of The Thirsty Whale, and came back with a young lady in tow, literally. I thought “that’s an interesting technique, but it doesn’t look she really wants a ride.” Turns out the charming woman was his girlfriend, Rhiannon, and they were planning on meeting about that time anyway. She eventually did take a ride, after a little clowning around.
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That's when the notices really started coming in—alerting her that her drivers license was suspended, as was her (already expired) pedicab license, in addition to a warrant for her arrest. The total for the two tickets was also raised to $625.