News / USA

Pedicabs Provide Alternative Way to Get Around

Environmentally-friendly cycle rickshaw takes people to tourist attractions in Washington, DC

Multimedia

Deborah Block

Grant Gaudry is an artist, but he pays his expenses by driving a pedicab in Washington, DC.
Grant Gaudry is an artist, but he pays his expenses by driving a pedicab in Washington, DC.

Grant Gaudry picks up this Vietnamese family from California outside Washington's Museum of Natural History.  He is taking them to a part of town where there are a large number of Asian restaurants.  Gaudry is an artist, but he makes his living driving a pedicab.  

"A good pedicab driver is someone who can keep the interest of their riders because one of the biggest parts of our ride is the interaction between you and the people sitting behind you," says Gaudrey.

Tourist Brandon Nguyen says, despite the traffic and bumpy streets, the experience is a lot of fun. "You're able to see both sides of the street, instead, when you are walking, you only see one side. A lot of up and down, so you feel like you are riding a horse."

Pedicabs have been used in Washington for several years.  Also known as bicycle rickshaws, they're also found in other major cities around the world, especially Southeast Asia.

In Washington, pedicab drivers negotiate the cost of a ride with their customers.  The average is about $20 for 20 minutes.  Some drivers own their own cabs. Others rent their pedicabs from companies.  Steve Balinsky, who once drove pedicabs in New York City, is now co-owner of Capitol Pedicabs.  

Balinsky says the customers come from all walks of life. "Families, a lot of couples. It's a pretty romantic thing to do, so a lot of couples like the pedicab rides. A lot of elderly, we really try to cater to the elderly."

The pedicab drivers are as diverse as the tourists they pick up.  Many are students and young working professionals. Others are in their 40's and 50's.

Some pedicab drivers do it to keep in shape. People like Carla Chandler, 45, who has a full-time job as a television news writer.

"It's fun, making extra money, and getting to meet tourists, meeting people from all over," says Chandler. "I've had riders from every state except Hawaii, a lot of international visitors. One day, in one hour, I had Iraq, Kuwait and Trinidad."

Nick Smith recently bought his own pedicab. In keeping with the Washington surroundings, he painted it with the animal symbols that represent the U.S. Democratic and Republican political parties.

"People ride and take a picture of it with their family," says Smith. "It's a lot of fun."

Tourists seem to like the novelty of riding in a pedicab.  

Dida Langsdale from Florida says the experience is unique. "Breathing fresh air, being able to see the sights, covering a lot of ground in a very short period of time. It probably would have taken us 30 minutes to walk what we just rode."

Capitol Pedicabs owner Balinky points out that the city of Washington is encouraging people to use bicycles more often for transportation. He says it is important to him to own a business that is environmentally friendly.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs