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

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid