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Pedicabbing Tales - A Great Saturday Night

My night started out rough – the (hopefully) annual Rickshaw Races were taking place… It’s a big pub crawl race where the participants have a bingo card of drinks they have to drink and a list of rules. Included on their bingo card is “Give your Driver some Water” and “Drink Water” and on their list of rules is “Tip your driver $25 – no skimping!”. Two participants per cab – you run them to the pub as hard as you can, they run in and drink their drink, then run out and onto the next. You ride your butt off, but you make $50. This year they called for 7 bikes and we were all excited as heck. Unfortunately… Well, there’s another cab company that just opened up in town and competition is fierce. We aren’t allowed to ride with them because of liability issues… and therein messed everything up. Half the riders got into the other company’s cab and… then we had issues. Our boss was right there and tried to convince everyone to ride in our cabs, but they were already in the spirit of their race and not able to listen… so… none of us got to ride them. It really sucked for everyone – we’d waited around for them for about 45 minutes so we’d all lost out on a lot of shift time, plus the other cab company doesn’t have enough cabs for them, so their event was ruined. It was.. a really awful start to the night. Everyone was pretty down about it. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to have a good day until I got it out of my system so I pulled my shift leader aside and bitched at him.

And then proceeded to have an AWESOME night. The streets were busy, I rode repeatedly, but nothing that really made me feel worn out and the tips were all pretty good.But a few highlights of the evening:

  • The soon to be married couple who tipped me a $20 and a can of mace, telling me to be safe out there. I have MACE! Tremble before me. ^_^
  • The drunk fellow and his sober friend who I picked up on Glenwood who were both charming and a ton of fun. The sober friend tipped me comfortably for the ride and then the drunk fellow pushed a pocketful of crumpled dollars into my hand for being awesome.
  • The extremely attractive girls who kept asking if they could ring my bell…
  • The chimney sweep who I hung out with for about half an hour who might’ve been hitting on me. Chimney sweep! Hah!
  • The young lady who got a beer tossed onto her leg and then insisted on tipping me when I chased her down with wet wipes.
  • The fellow who insisted on tipping me for letting pretty girls sit in my cab while I was hanging out resting my legs and then periodically asked, “Do you need more tip yet?”

Thanks to all of you, my evening was both profitable and a ton of fun. Much love!


Pedicabbing Tales - Awesome Night

Just to show that pedicabbing isn’t all doom and gloom, I had an awesome night last night. There were two concerts playing in town – one large band at the amphitheatre and a symphony down at the memorial building, performing a tribute to Queen. My night was made however on the first ride, which was a stylish and attractive computer geek (I know! But seriously, this guy was bebonair) wanted to go to the other end of town. We had a great chat about technology, languages, and the like and then he tipped me generously – paid off my rental fee for the shift, making the rest of the night profit and guaranteeing me a good day. Thanks Mister Hot Computer Type Guy!

After that things were pretty laid back for awhile – not many people wanted rides to the shows because the weather was lovely, but we all knew everyone would want a lift back after they’d had a couple drinks and stood around partying for a few hours. I still managed to snag a couple of rides though, which made me happy. ^_^ Then I got an hour or so to putter around during the lull. Every shift has a time block where the streets are dead. if you ride all over the place and pester people, you’ll get a ride… but then your legs are going to be way more tired than you want for the rest of the night. There’s an effort to profit ratio you have to watch out for, especially when you work several days a week.

Once the shows started letting out though, it was on! I have a love/hate relationship with the amphitheatre… Whenever they do a show I get a lot of rides and make a lot of money, but it’s situated at the bottom of steep climbs in all directions. After three or four rides, you start seriously considering packing it up and going home. There was quite a bit of awesomeness though – M and I picked up a group of four slightly drunken fellows who wanted to have a good time. They handed us a fifty and told us to take them to a good bar and that we should go uphill. I asked them if they liked irish pubs, they said they loved irish pubs.. so we decided to haul them up the hill and across town to my second favourite pub. Halfway up the hill? My riders decided to get out and push the cab up the hill. xD It happens sometimes, boys feel bad about making a girl pedal them around. The first few times, I fretted and fussed, but now I just kick into high gear and peel up that hill, cheering the fellows on to keep up. Poor M had to trudge up by himself – he was much jealous, but these guys were awesome. They were all drunken but in a pleasant, fun way. They weren’t rowdy or out of control. One kept telling me, “That is a nice thigh. You have great legs!” Which a girl needs to hear sometimes. ^_~

The best quote of the evening came when I was coasting down the Hill O Death to pick up more passengers and past a couple of drunken walkers, staggering up it. One stopped in his path and stared at me, mouth open in shock.

“She’s a wo.. That’s a WOMAN!” he slurred urgently to his companions. I guess my legs are just that astounding.


Pedicabbing Tales - Broken Speaker

It was a Wednesday night and a terrible pedicabbing day. The weather was cool, but only because it kept raining every hour. I was feeling surprisingly relaxed about this however, as I’d been the first one out on the road and gotten a really good first ride. Two petite Asian women and a little girl who wanted a tour of the capital building. I give awesome tours – they tipped me enough to cover my shift fee and gas money out. So the rest of the night was going to be pure profit and even on a wednesday night I was sure I could get a ride or two… except it started raining. And it kept raining, all night. Between bouts of rain, I’d hit the road, coasting up and down the streets looking for ANYONE. The streets were dead – all the sensible people having decided to stay at home.

I got lucky though, as I turned a corner I found a small family – husband, wife, child who wanted a lift back to their car, a good ways away. I was having a pretty good time, talking to the folks, complimenting the child on his art supplies, playing music for them – Oh yeah. I have an awesome little speaker that hooks up to my phone. When people get on, I eyeball them over and play a Pandora station that I think will suit them best. I get numerous compliments and I do pretty in the evenings, taking couples along a beautiful, starlit courtyard I know while playing Marvin Gaye and Michael Buble at them.

All was going well until apparently the kid discovered he could turn my music on and off by kicking my speaker with his foot. What? Yes! It took me a couple minutes to figure out what was going on until I caught him at it… and asked his parents to stop him. Then followed a really lousy 7 minutes where in I repeatedly asked these people to stop their kid from KICKING MY SPEAKER. Repeatedly. They’d stop him, he’s start again.. they would do nothing until I asked. I was shocked. When I got them to the car and they started to get off, the kid went crazy, kicking my speaker repeatedly. “Hey! Stop!” I cried. “That’s mine! I paid for that, it’s mine! That’s not nice, Stop!”

They gave me $3.

And the speaker? The sound jack is broken and now the cable has to be in at an angle for it to work. *vex*

(Although, my boss was awesome. We had to shut the shift down at 9:30 when a large storm rolled in. He asked us how many rides we'd gotten and all of us had been pretty dead... so he refunded our shift fees. Win!)


Pedicabbing Tales - Mister Big Shot

The other day I was coasting up the road with another driver when we got flagged down by a group of three – a young lady, her apparent date, and their third wheel. They wanted to go to a club a few blocks and a massive hill away – no problem! The young lady and her date climbed into the other driver’s cab leaving me to spend a shockingly long 15 minutes with… a complete asshole. I should have taken warning from how much junk he had in his hair. He started by asking me if I’d been to the expensive restaurant we’d picked him up at and I said no, was it any good? He began to explain his connections with the owners and how much of a big shot he was. >_>

At which point the driver in front of me coasted through a yellow light and I had to stop… getting hit by traffic isn’t my main hobby.

“What are you doing?!” he asked.

“It’s a red light.”

“You can’t run those?!”

“Uh, no.”

“Oh man. You see this? This is your tip going down.”

Like I said, he was an asshole. While we were at the red light he began to reassert his big shot status, asking what it took to get advertising space on our shirts and reaching out to pluck at my shirt. As in. Touching me. T_T I really hate being touched by strangers, let me tell you. Anyway, I told him he could call me boss and started trying to climb up the massive hill… unfortunately getting caught at the light killed my momentum and it was fairly tough going. “C’mon” said Mister Big Shot. “Faster! Go faster! This is your tip.”

I have never been so tempted to kick someone out of my cab. I didn’t because I’m kind of a whuss, but I wanted to. For my troubles and agitation, he gave me.. $5.


Pedicabbing Tales

I picked up a second job this summer to make a little extra money for the school year. As a hobby, it's wonderful. I get to ride a bike around an amazing city, pestering people and generally getting paid for it. It's not very much money, but it's a lot of fun. Getting the job was very easy - we're independent contractors so I called up, went for an interview and paid a fee for training. After that... I was officially a professional cyclist. Sorta. :) I sign up for shifts, go into work, pay my shift fee and then take my cab out. Our particular company works solely off of tips - we don't charge specific rates or mileage. We range all over the downtown area, which lets us take rides that are a couple miles long and gives us plenty of hills to climb.

Unfortunately a couple of weeks into my pedicabbing adventure, my boss told me they'd run out of work for me to do... they didn't want to but they were going to have to send me home for unpaid leave and when they were ready, they'd call and ask me if I still wanted to work for them. That left my fun pedicab hobby as my sole source of income... I've been pedicabbing a lot. A lot, a lot. So I thought it was time to start blogging some of my adventures on the bike. ^_^ Expect stories to be forthcoming!


A Surreal Experience

It has not been a quiet week in the land of Arienna... Well, two weeks really. First, I lost my job. My perfect, wonderful job that I was constantly grateful for having... Gone. Then, I broke my tablet laptop, that which I use for school notes and art work... And being freshly unemployed am in sort of an awkward place about replacing. Merf. While I was whimpering about that, my young man announced he's trying to get into a training school (he's a soldier) that will take him out of state for at least a year. And my great aunt died. I've been pretty tempted to feel overwhelmed.

My parents went away to attend a wedding, so I had promised to house and cat sit. I almost canceled as, after this whole mess, the thought of being alone in a large house in the middle of nowhere for a whole week was pretty distressing... but they had no one else, so I packed up my bags and hied me hence up north. I wavered briefly on which bike to take with me. I knew I was going to take -a- bike, but solid, sensible Ariel? Or the sleek, fast Bella Donna who has troubles on rough terrain? Remembering how flat and lovely the terrain is, I cheerfully loaded the Bella Donna onto the back of my car and headed off!

First thing on waking up Friday, I climbed into my new bib shorts. I was pretty excited about these shorts. I promised myself a pair after my first saddle sore, since everyone told me that bibs are a lot better - the shoulder straps keeps them in place better than tight waist elastic and they're a little slimming besides. I got an AMAZING deal on them from a friend who ordered the wrong size and couldn't return them. So I climbed into my bib shorts, put on my second favourite jersey and off I went!

I was having an amazing ride! The weather was cold, but not so cold that I needed a balaclava (which lately is my definition of very, very good weather). The Bella Donna loves those flats and there was no one else out there so I cranked up the music (bike trails, no cars!) and kicked out hard. The trail is beautiful with lovely scenery, following a creek with just enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. The Bella Donna steers through psychic suggestion - you don't so much manipulate the handle bars as you think vague thoughts of going in one direction or the other and suddenly you are.

So there I was, flying along at approximately 17-18 miles per hour... when up three deer burst out of the trees onto the trail.

"Oh." Thought I. "So this is how I'm going to die."

Only an amazing thing happened! Instead of fleeing across the trail (and into my suddenly small and fragile self) as I expected them to.. they curved slightly and ran beside me. For nearly two miles, I raced along the trail in a pack of three deer, their graceful leaping run keeping effortless pace with the Bella Donna and me. I could've reached out and touched any one of them. It was... amazing. As suddenly as they had appeared, the three of them pealed off and vanished into the trees, leaving me feeling as if something world changing had just happened.


Back on the Road!

So I spent most of the last couple of weeks off my bike, waiting for this saddle sore to heal (and I will never, ever use that saddle again, so say I), eating too much junk and feeling cranky. But yesterday, my various bits and pieces felt pretty good so I bundled myself up in my below freezing costume, and biked to school.

My trip started a little badly because I haven't ridden Ariel (my pretty blue hybrid) since I got the Bella Donna... But I can ride the Bella Donna to school, ever, because she's just.. way too nice of a bike to leave barely locked outside of a school near a bad neighborhood. I mean, I'm sensible and I lock up right next to campus security, but still.

So I climbed on Ariel and started peddling, grumbling to myself about how heavy we were and how much stuff we had and how I wished I was on Bella... But then I started my first big hill of the route and stopped thinking about anything but climbing. Once I got off the hills and onto the bike trail flatland, it suddenly occurred to me that I was having a really good time. I was on my bike again, which I've been whining about for the past two weeks. I was outside in the fresh air and chilly sunlight, all my extremities were covered up exactly the way they needed to be, so I wasn't cold anywhere... I was just completely, blissfully happy.

Ariel is not a fast, sleek ride the way the Bella Donna is... But she's a really -comfortable- ride. Knowing that she's not built for speed seems to give me permission to slow down and relax. With her upright geometry, I'm sitting tall and pretty and I can look around at what is the best beloved and most beautiful state I've ever been in.

Life is good. ^_^


The End of the Year

So it's officially the last day of the year and like many people, I'm reviewing my year. There were, like every year, lots of good and bad things. I... have no inclination to dwell, I want to keep this reasonable, so I'm going to lost some of the things I'm proud of.

  • I went back to school full time
  • I maintained a 4.0 GPA
  • I biked to school all but two days last semester (the first, and last day of school)
  • I rode my first bike event
  • I finished and submitted my application and portfolio to my university of choice. (Everyone cross your fingers!)

It was a pretty busy year. :) And there's so many good things in my life and on the horizon. I have an awesome roommate who makes my life better every single day, whether he's patiently pedaling at my pace, leaving sacrifices of chocolate cake in the fridge, or putting on a ridiculous costume for his roll in whatever Devious Plan I'm involved in. (Thanks Scott!) I have the best possible of all jobs, which allows me to make my own schedule and go to school fulltime. (Thanks JJ! Thanks Mark! Please don't fire me!). I'll hopefully be transferring to university come Fall. And I have several really awesome bike events I plan on attending this year, all supporting really important causes.

Next week I'll be meeting with the first of what may turn out to be several doctors regarding my ankle. Please cross your fingers for me, I'm hoping medical science will get me back on my feet and running races again. One of the worst parts of this year has been living with a constant, low-grade pain in my right ankle that occasionally spiked up to high grade pain when I did something stupid. It's a minor complaint but it's left me with some serious admiration and empathy for people who have to live with serious injuries and pain in their regular lives. I'm feeling really positive about a better year.

Now I'm gonna get back to work and log another couple hours, before I go ring in the new year properly... On my bike. See you all in 2011!

Christmas Ride

My parents usually go away for Christmas, but this year they decided to stay home and since I had loose plans to see the young man, come New Years, I thought I’d head up to their place and be fed. Somehow I also talked my father into going for a ride with me… though he warned me that trail conditions might be a bit rough so I should bring my Ariel hybrid. Whilst I was loading my stuff into my car, I thought long and hard over which bike I should take… The sensible hybrid.. or my lady? I really, really wanted to ride my lady, but I didn’t want to loose out on a ride if conditions were too bad… so I went ahead and loaded both of them. It’s a three hour drive so it was a good test for how the bike rack and my little car handled having both my darlings. I made it safely, both bikes intact.

My parents live way up on the wee north tip of North Carolina, in the only place that’s flat in the whole state. My poor father pulled his Mongoose mountain bike out of the garage, blew some of the cobwebs off, we pumped up the tires, and headed off. It was a lovely day, at least 45 and beautiful outside. Not too much wind, everything was lovely. I headed out on my Bella, rationalizing that if conditions on the trail turned out to be too rough, I could turn around and get Ariel and be just fine. Conditions were not too rough. We kept an easy pace – my father was at a severe mechanical disadvantage to my lady and I’ve really been getting some good, distance covering legs from my trainer. So as we started up, I got us talking and made sure to stick with him at a talking pace. Most of the time. xD

My father’s neighbor’s are fabulous! On the Durham trails in my city, you have to call out loudly when you want to pass people because they’re all over the trail, on both sides of the little painted lines. And when you do, with a “‘Scuse me! On your left! Can I get through please?” They often don’t care. Or, if they’re runners, they have their headphones on and can’t hear you. I know bikes yield to heels but on a wide trail I feel like I should be able to pass. :) My father’s neighbors however, not only kept to one side of the trail, when I’d call out a howdy, they’d clear to the side of the road with their dogs. I was all excited about not having to break speed, and kept thanking everyone and wishing them a Merry Christmas. The dogs were good too! Only one broke discipline and tried to chase me, and his owner had a firm hand on the leash. Such good doggies.

Like I said, everything is flat out here so I had a fantastic ride. I felt so strong and fast and capable, me and my lady, that I just couldn’t wait to do it again. I decided to stay the night so I could get out on their trail for a really good long ride the next day before going home…

… And there’s now 13.5inches of snow out there. Holy cow, it’s looking like I’m not going to be able to ride or drive home anytime soon. Send trainers!

That's My Bike!

The universe occasionally decides it ought to heighten my pleasure by introducing anticipation delaying tactics into my joy. Yesterday I was all set to take my new bike out during my lunch break but her tires needed some air and when I clocked out and ran downstairs, half in my bike shorts and giggling like an idiot… I discovered I didn’t have the adapter for her high pressure tire valves. And Scott had taken his hybrid out to Lake Crabtree, blocking me into the driveway so I couldn’t go up to the store. I was full of boos and hisses. When he came home we hopped off to the REI center where we bought a spiffy new floor pump (we’ve been using my cheap car pump to handle our tires) and some sport beans (JELLY BEANS!) as a treat for our next long ride. By the time we were done drooling over all the things we weren’t buying, it was much, much to late to go on a real ride. I couldn’t help myself and took her on a quick spin around the neighborhood… But still it wasn’t enough! So today we headed out to our favourite pub to get a bite to eat and a delightful 10 mile ride. ^.^

Here we are, getting ready for our first ride. Can you count how many layers I'm wearing to beat the cold?
Now you all know anything as loved as this bike is requires a name and after hardly a moment of thought, I decided the only name that would do was the name of the wonderful woman who arranged for me to have this bike. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet the Bella Donna. There we are! I’m bundled up for the cold and armed for were bear, ready for an adventure! We wasted no time getting started – while Scott usually takes the lead and lets me draft off of his superior fitness, this time I pulled ahead to stretch my legs and test out my darling. I’d already warned Scott that I wasn’t sure on her balance and I’m was going to be adjusting to her shifting so I’d be a squirrel (someone who can’t be trusted to hold a line) the whole time and he was prepared.

The Bella Donna pedals effortlessly so here’s what Scott spent most of the trip seeing this:

After a couple of miles we coasted up to a stop light and Scott said, “I dunno if the Bella Donna is treating you right or it’s all the time on the trainer, but I’m actually getting a workout today.”, which made me feel pretty awesome. Although, to be fair, I did decide to give him a bit of a handicap before we left… I loaded my 6 lb bike lock onto his rack and threw some sand into his derailleurs. And occasionally when he looked like he was catching up, I slowed down kicked him a few times. These are things you have to do, to keep life challenging for your roommate.

We made it in good time to Tyler’s Taproom, our favourite pub and our regular weekend ride destination.. but discovered they were CLOSED! Some silliness about Christmas Eve or something. Totally ridiculous. Fortunately, I was too busy being extremely happy to care, so we just turned around and went home.

Thanks Donna. <3