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Fancy Pedicabs


  • Writer's pictureKing Tone

The best pedicabs we didn't invent!

For my first blog I think its important that you learn about how we got our start. This may sound redundant since its pretty much the same as what we have on our about us page. I promise to add a little more and some relevant history about pedicabs. If you think I got something wrong or left something important out please send me a message. I'm always eager to learn more.

In 2011 King Tone came across a newspaper article that featured a Pedicab in Denver Colorado while on vacation. As an avid cyclist growing up in New York City he knew he would love being a pedicabber. He wondered if they had Pedicabs in Tucson Arizona where he was living at the time. When he got back home he started doing late night recon to see if Pedicabs roamed the streets and sure enough he saw a couple that usually came out after 10 pm. He knew then he had to join in the fun and get a Pedicab of his own. One thing was for sure he didn’t want to blend in with the current pedicabs on the streets, so he started to scour the internet and found Pedillac Pedicabs. They sold electric motor assist Pedicabs that were totally different looking from the current pedicabs on the market.

With one Pedicab he started what was then known as University Pedicabs (We Can Take You There) was the tag line.

He served the downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona markets. 1 Pedicab grew to 3, 3 grew to 6 and in 2013 he reached market saturation. He also figured out all the flaws in the Pedicabs and created innovative ways to make them more reliable and easier to ride. During that same year he became aware that Pedillac Pedicabs was closing shop through frequent phone calls from their previous customers who had bought Pedillac Pedicabs and had no one to offer them support or parts. He quickly realized there was an opportunity to help others with the same Pedicabs he had and to grow his business with. He got a hold of the owners of Pedillac and bought out their entire inventory and re-branded the business into what is now known as Pedal Media Pedicabs.

His quest to make the best electric assist Pedicabs was relentless. In 2013 he built the first ever true mid drive electric assist Pedicab, but he didn’t stop there. He also engineered a way to use composite Skyway Mag wheels which led to one of the first ever hyper custom pedicabs on the planet. Since then Pedal Media Pedicabs has built countless custom pedicabs for customers nationally and internationally and continues to support previous Pedillac customers and current customers alike. He doesn’t just sell you a Pedicab he stands by your side 24-hours 7 days a week including holidays as your personal customer support specialist, he provides free business consulting and shares the knowledge and experience he has acquired over the years for free. To him you’re not just another customer, your part of the Royal family of Pedicabbers across the world and he provides world class service and support to make you feel as such.

In 2014 he moved the Pedicab Service and Sales division to Phoenix Arizona where he continues to operate a fleet of the same Pedicabs he sells and re-branded the service to Phoenix Pedicab Service.

He continues to build custom electric assist pedicabs and incorporate the latest products and components available while keeping the cost to a minimum. If your considering buying a Pedicab or a fleet of Pedicabs give him a call you will always get to speak with him directly. All Pedicabs have been completely redesigned for 2018 and now can easily be compared to the pedicabs available on the market. There is no question dollar for dollar you get more with a Pedal Media Pedicab.

So now that you got to learn a little about me and how I got into the Pedicab industry let me tell you a little bit about when Pedicabs first came to the U.S.

According to Wikipedia, the first known commercial use of pedicabs in North America occurred in 1962 at the Seattle World's Fair. Elvis took a ride on one. The truth is pedicabs have been around a long time and there first use was for family's who wanted to cycle together. Dad usually pedaled while mom and the kids rode in the back. Then someone got a great idea and turned into a business, so here we are today. Almost every major city has a pedicab service providing Eco-friendly transport to anyone who wants a ride.

The reason why I point this out because the newest pedicab manufacturing company in the US claims they built "The Best Pedicab Ever Invented". Sorry boys you didn't invent the pedicab our friends to the east did that many years before all of you were born. They are known as Rickshaws. A carriage pulled by a human on foot. that evolved into a carriage pulled by human power on a bicycle or tricycle.

Rickshaws Reinvented

The ancient transportation takes a modern turn

By Dina Modianot-FoxSMITHSONIAN.COM MARCH 1, 2007440421

From London to Anchorage, New York to Hanoi, it seems as if people everywhere are catching a ride on rickshaws. Surprised? Thought that those human-pulled carts, century-old symbols of exploitation and poverty, were obsolete?

As of last December, they are—at least in the stereotypical form of a man in rags and a straw hat running barefoot through crowded Asian streets, drawing a cart carrying one or two obviously better-off passengers. That’s when the government of West Bengal banned man-pulled rickshaws in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta)—the last place in the world where they were in widespread use. Explaining the ban at a press conference, Kolkata’s Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said, “We can’t imagine one man sweating and straining to pull another man.” An estimated 18,000 rickshaw drivers have since taken to the streets to protest what they see as the removal of their livelihoods.

Though traditional rickshaws might have made their last trips, the concept of one person using his muscle to pull a cab with people or goods remains very much alive. Companies with names like “Cleverchimp Rickshaw” and “Orient Express Rickshaw,” have sprung up across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas, offering an environmentally friendly way to shop, avoid big city traffic, sightsee, deliver packages—even return home after a night on the town. Several dozen companies operate in the United States alone.

Modern-day rickshaws vary in style from country to country, use bicycle pedals (often assisted by small motors), are primarily three-wheeled and can be canopied or completely enclosed. A few are resplendent in neon colors; some look like space vehicles, others show off the handiwork of their cultures, still others are as covered in advertisements as NASCAR entries. Universally known as rickshaws, they’re called velo-taxis in most of Continental Europe, cyclos in Cambodia and pedicabs in Britain and the United States.

While they might carry the same genes, these new-age old-school vehicles differ substantially from their infamous ancestor—a two-wheeled cart with a collapsible hood and two long shafts.

“When technology met the rickshaw, everything changed,” says Peter Meitzler of New York’s Manhattan Rickshaw Company. “The modern pedicabs have hydraulic brakes, suspension, complete lighting systems, seat belts, full weather canopies, steel frames and fiberglass bodies.”

Meitzler, whose title Person in Charge betrays his innovative spirit, is one of literally hundreds of entrepreneurs around the world hooked on pedal power as an alternative to gas guzzling. “You experience the urban environment differently when you’re riding in a rickshaw,” he says. He used “rickshaw” in the company name because it was internationally known.

The term is actually a shortened form of the Japanese word jinrikisha; literally, human-powered vehicle. There are conflicting theories about its inventor—the most prevalent is that Jonathan Scobie, an American missionary in Japan, designed it in 1869 to transport his invalid wife—but there is no question that Japan was the first country to use it widely. By the late 1870s, the rickshaw was that nation’s main mode of transport, with an estimated 40,000 of them operating in Tokyo alone.

From there it quickly spread to other Asian countries. Peasants migrating to cities in search of work saw in rickshaw-pulling a quick, if exhausting, way to make a living. Several books and films, notably City of Joy, based in Kolkata, and Rickshaw Boy, the first Chinese Communist movie shown in American theaters, have chronicled the unenviable lives of rickshaw pullers, the very image of the downtrodden.

Historically, most rickshaws were rented, and the drivers had to work 17- to 18-hour days to survive. They ran in a single file at about five miles an hour through the mud and grime of teaming streets, with the front driver calling out warnings of any road hazards ahead. The rickshaw was not only their livelihood; it was also where they kept their few belongings, where they slept and where they ate.

Regarding them as a capitalist evil and a sign of China’s subjugation to the West, the Communists banned rickshaws shortly after taking over that country in 1949.

All across Asia, pedals replaced the shafts and the pulled rickshaws became reserved as a unique treat for travelers visiting tourist spots. Today, they often serve as backdrops for posed souvenir photos, happy reminders of an unhappy past.

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The definition of invent is: To create or design (something that has not existed before); be the originator of. No one in the U.S. invented the Pedicab we just copied what already existed and improved on it a bit from the original design by Jonathon Scobie an american missionary in 1869. Maybe that new company should adopt the phrase "The Best Pedicab Ever Reinvented". Oops too late, we already coined that phrase.

Love and Peace to all.

King Tone

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