Diary of a pedicabber

Christmas is in the air!! :)

What comes in mind with the word Christmas? Most of us Europeans immediately think about snow, cold, lights and decorations, trees and cribs, hot chocolate and soft blankets.

Have you ever dreamed instead of spending Christmas in a bathing suit, with a little Santa cap and a cold drink in your hands, maybe while you’re on the beach, on a beautiful sunny day, surrounded by greenery and the ocean?

A dream?…..Utopia?……No, I’m talking about a normal Australian day in December. It sounds s like a dream but it’s all true, now I might really understand the common Australian saying “living the Australian dream” … :)

Driving my pedicab around Cairns seen many Christmas parties in the bars and clubs, I’ve had some customers with Santa Claus costumes on that wanted to go around the city. Last week all the riders decided to decorate our pedicabs with lights and Christmas decorations in order to create the magic feeling of this period.

As I mentioned, its summer in Cairns so we will celebrate Christmas at the beach, I think at Holloway beach. Surfing and swimming, having lunch with a barbecue. Apparently, there will be Christmas Carols on at that beach, where hundreds of people will get together and sing Christmas Carols together in the twilight. Most beaches in Australia, especially the most famous and popular, have a barbecue area with a free electric barbecues – “Just bring what you’d like to cook and enjoy!” I would like to try also some typical Australian Christmas food, apparently prawns (or shrimp) and other seafood are very popular. Then there’s the cakes, I’m really curious to try the Pavlova cake, the Christmas Pudding which is apparently often served with an old coin in the bottom, a six-pence from before the decimal currency.

There are also many tours organized for the Christmas period. One that I think is worth mentioned is a visit to Green Island, where a huge buffet is planned for anyone who wants to spend a day on the island. I will go there for sure one day and let you knowhow it is. :)

Now I just want to wish you a Merry Christmas to spend with people you love most and enjoy! :)

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Diary of a pedicabber

After 3 weeks I’m working at the Down Under Pedicabs based in Cairns I’m starting to get an eye for the customers. Have you ever been walking down the street looking for a taxi in one direction, then from the way a cab pulls slows down and the driver look at you to catch your eye. How did he know you were looking for a cab? Well I still don’t know how this happens but I have now experienced it from the cab driver’s side. After a while you get a sixth sense about exactly which person out of the 100 people walking past you on the esplanade is the one that you need to catch their eye.

I have also started to be able to identify the different kinds of customers that I and the other pedicab drivers run into almost every night. This really is a job where the customer is always right and I am really learning how to give all the different customers the best experience which of course results in the best tips. Here’s a short list that I have made to help myself remember the main ones:

Mr. I’m not really sure where I want to go: this guy is always changing his mind about the destination, this can be really great because every change of heart is a chance to renegotiate the fare.

Mr. I think you should get paid more: you will not believe the tips that some people will give you, particularly if it is a long or heavy ride. Sometimes the best part of your take in a night can be one big tip from one happy customer.

Mr. Everything is an emergency: Everyone in any kind of service role knows this fellow. He is a firm believer that he is the only client you could possibly have and deserves 100 percent of your time. He can be frustrating but this fellow thinks he is very important so if you stroke his ego he will often magically turn into Mr. I think you should get paid more.

Mr. I don’t really care, just go wherever you want: he doesn’t really have a destination but really just wants to go for a ride. He is interested in the novelty of the pedicab and the pedicaber’s job.

Mr. Let’s get the party started: he wants you to put his music on the pedicab speakers and will start to sing loudly. He is a lot of fun and will generally get you more fares by telling everyone you pass how awesome you are.

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It’s easy to please everyone on a pedicab….like our boss says, “happiness is a ride in a rickshaw”. Knowing the types of personalities you are working with is important though. If you can master that, you’ll be better prepared to have a happy client… and your take will be better at the end of every night.

Besides the job, last week all the pedicab crew went to hike at the Walsh’s Pyramid mountain. This mountain gets its name because it’s a natural pyramid. It’s situated in the south of Cairns and is 922 metres tall. I have to say it is very, very steep, I think we took 4 hours to climb the mountain. By the time we got to the top I couldn’t feel my legs anymore but the view was worth it. We had a rest for about an hour in the middle of the nature and we really enjoyed the quiet and calm up there. I think it’s a good spot to go if you feel stressed and you need to chill and relax. We took other 3 hours to come back down but when you are with such a great bunch of people you have fun, even though you are tired :)

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Next time I will give you some tips for events during the Christmas week so keep on following us! :)

Diary of a pedicabber

If you live in Australia or have recently had the opportunity to visit Australia, you have probably seen an environmentally friendly alternative to taxis and cars: the pedicab.

But what do you know exactly about pedicabs or rickshaws? Human power is not new to transport, especially in the east, however these simple vehicles have become something a little different in this part of the world. They are very efficient in urban areas, having the ability to make you enjoy a new perspective of the city, they are more intimate, experiential and fun.

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When I was visiting Cairns and Newcastle I saw passengers getting onto the pedicabs. I could see how much the customers were enjoying themselves. The pedicab drivers are guys and girls with a sunny and talkative temperament and when they have some passengers they try to give them the most fun experience with music, information about the city and recommendations on things to do and see,… It’s work where personality and interaction is the most important thing. Passengers don’t want only to sit and look around, they want to talk, they have questions and they expect answers; people on the side of the road and out from bars and clubs try to talk with pedicabbers; drivers of cars wind down the windows to talk as well.

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I started to realise that this is not only a passenger service but a way to turn cities into a bright and happy place. I liked what I saw so much that I have decided to give it a try. I have joined Down Under Pedicabs. At the Down Under Pedicabs base in Cairns the pedicab drivers have a house to share so everybody, including travellers, can try to work here. Once I arrived here I felt immediately at home because all the team was very friendly and welcoming. This is a great way to make friends and I feel like the friendships I make here will be long lasting.

We work mainly during the evening because its busier then day and its not too hot. As a bonus it also means we have a lot of free time during the day. We put that time to good use though, sometimes we organize trips out of Cairns for exploring some of the amazing spots around here. Last time we went to visit Josephine falls, located about 1 hour from Cairns. I must say that the atmosphere and the view there was incredible and breathtaking. It has been a beautiful day to remember in the future.

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We don’t go out every day, sometimes we are tired from the night time work so we just chill in the garden area of the house, play pool or watching tv. Some evening, before going to work, we organize big dinners where each of us takes a turn to cooking. We eat well but I have to say that after 2 weeks of pedalling I have lost already some weight and my body is more lean and fit :) I couldn’t ask more! This is a way to combine fitness and fun!

Well that’s all for now. I’ll let you know how the next few weeks pan out.

I want to thank the guy that took the pictures of the Pedicabs, Nikita Zinovkin. :)

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

We have had a great day riding at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. It was extremely busy and we had a long line up for rides. The highlight was taking people to see the little chefs working their magic in the kitchen.

The Rickshaw Way

Using pedal powered rickshaws known as pedicabs, Rickshaw Revolution offer a fun and environmentally friendly form of transport for the inner city of Newcastle and surrounding areas.