It’s been several months since I posted a Cyclist of the Month interview – that one with Jason Potter was pretty awesome – and I’ve been meaning to sit down with (read: email) the guys at Memphis Pedicab Company for some questions. Well, after months of procrastination on my part, plus a ridiculously busy schedule, here we are. Read on to learn about the history of Memphis’s only people-powered transportation team, how to recover from a night of hauling around passengers, and what it’s like to pedal a cab.
Co-owner Chris Copeland taking some people for a spin.
1. Tell me about the history of Memphis Pedicab. How did this new business get started?
Jeremy Reese and I started the company after finding ourselves unemployed in early 2011. It was a sudden and unexpected change after dedicating so much time, energy and emotion to someone else’s idea. Not long after spending all day every day looking for a job and realizing, first-hand, how difficult the current job market is to navigate, we decided that we needed something to do with our time and abilities. We did some research and found that Pedicabs were becoming more and more popular across the US. We were intrigued at the possibility and set about finding a used Pedicab to purchase to fuel the fire and proove the concept to ourselves.
Once we found one and drove it back to Memphis, in the back of a rented pick-up, we were convinced. We then put together a business plan, a proforma and secured a business license. Next came our biggest and most rewarding hurdle to clear…We had to submit a proposal to the City and appear before a panel to present our idea and business plan. On the panel were representatives from the Memphis City Gov’t including the Permit Office, the City Attorney’s office, the MATA, the Taxi industry, the Visitors Bureau and Convention Center and the MPD. We really could not have succeeded without the support of the following people: Aubrey Howard at the Permit Office, Kyle Wagenshutz, the Mayor’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, Mayor AC Wharton himself, Leslie Gower and Paul Morris of the Downtown Commission and Maria Fuhrmann from Kemp Conrad’s office.
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