Category Archives: BikeTaxi

This Summer

Life update

I started out this summer living in a car in Portland. Now I find myself living in an RV in Minneapolis. So much more than a simple housing upgrade and a move went down this summer, which is something I would like to touch on here as briefly as I can in this blog post.

There seem to be three phases to any adventure. The first is the preparation and work phase which is usually the one that is hardest to do. This was what my time in Portland was like. Working two jobs so that I could afford to travel south. Good times playing hacky sack at a boring ass job, and then weekends on the tricycle delivering people to their destinations. Even though my entire life was dedicated to exploration, I still wish I had more time to explore. It was only a few months spent in Portland before I left for the next phase of my adventure.

By proceeding through the work phase it’s time for the next part of the adventure which is the action phase. My action part of the adventure got jump-started when an old friend called and asked if I wanted to ride the tricycle at a festival in Kentucky. I had about two days to make a decision on if I wanted to go or not but it only took me about 5 seconds to make up my mind. I picked up a few grams of DMT (real shit), shaved my head, and jumped on a plane within a day. Upon getting to Kentucky I realized that the festival that we had been talking about was actually the Kentucky Derby. I joined a team of pedicab drivers and we road in Louisville Kentucky for three days before law enforcement ticketed half of us and then kicked the rest of us out. There is a decent video of the entire event that I posted to youtube that you can find here.

Needless to say, we were pissed but had to pack up and head back west. To save money I hitched a ride with the pedicab guys (who were all from Utah) and spent most of the trip west in a hammock in the back of a box truck. About halfway there I realized that I had a potential RV waiting for me in Denver so I got off in Wyoming and hitched my way south. The RV was promised to me from a friend of mine who turned out to not be the most reliable of persons. To be honest, I knew this going into the friendship but stuck with it because I thought there was a chance that he might pull through. All and all, his friendship proved valuable insight into how poorly some people are put together. The fact that he never came through with the RV was the least bit of troubles. I am talking about a man who makes a good bit of money from selling prescription drugs that he get prescribed from a sketchy doctor. Never coming through on promises is something he would compensate for by making promises with more grandeur. All of these negative attributes were things that I could bear. He was funny and pleasant to hang around and for sure had a positive business input, even if his commitment was only half as strong as his word. Shortly after my time in Denver, he died of a drug overdose which is something I can never forgive him for. All that I put into building a relationship with him is now good for nothing other than to teach me to look for the red flags in people and to take action on not letting some into my life.

Flying out of Denver and landing in Seattle, I got back into my Subaru and headed south where I was to ride EDC in Vegas. I had about a month before I needed to be in Nevada and so decided to take my time going down the cost. I stopped in Pacific City to visit with a friend I had made working on the mountain. I was just looking to stop by for a night or two but when it turned out to be a hippy playground paradise home, I ended up staying for 3 nights. We had bonfires in the woods, kayaking in the ocean, surfing, bow& arrows + guns, some of us tripped our nuts off, and I even got a tattoo. After all of this, I continued to make my way south.

The rest of my trip went quickly before I landed in Vegas. I spent a few days in San Francisco but didn’t find much to do other than walk for miles all over the city. Got all the good tourist things in and made friends with a few people that walk the streets. On my way out I tried to climb half-dome in Yosemite National Park but learned that you need to apply for a permit in order to climb, and there is no car camping allowed in the park. Park security walked up on my car right after I got done smoking a bowl to myself at sundown. I had to wiggle my way out of getting a ticket and possibly searched and then quickly left the park just so that I could get a few hours closer to Vegas.

Upon arriving in Vegas I headed straight to the pedicab garage where I was able to rent a bike a ride the town. One of my favorite places to be in this world is on a bike in a strange place. The click of the mind that says “where the fuck am I and how do I figure this out?” has got to be one of the best experiences of my life. When the sun goes down Vegas becomes a lucrative place to anyone that is working a job. It’s all about strip clubs and dispensaries when on the bike. The days are hot and there is no underground because of the hard desert ground. I spent my days in delirium and my nights exploring and exploiting the town. It was a good warmup for EDC.

For anyone that has not heard of the Electric Daisy Carnival before, its a “festival” but better named as a rave. The largest rave in America. Half a million people show up for a 5-day event and I was seated on the nicest pedicab I have ever road. Two fat lithium-ion batteries were stored under the seat. With the push of the throttle, you could have that thing going 25+ mph in less than 10 seconds. The line of cars to get into to EDC camping stretched for miles. I spent the first hours of the festival driving through car lines looking for people that had too much to carry and needed a lift. I have never met a customer population so ready to spend money. Considering the ticket price was $500+ and the price to camp was more than double that, it should not have been such a surprise.

There are two big factors that go into how much money you make pedicabing EDC. They are how hard you work, and how smart you work. The working hard factor comes about by not sitting in lines. There are times in the city when sitting in a line is most likely the best course of action as it will get you quality rides quickly. At EDC there are so many sales opportunities that your best bet is to get on the hunt and to always be on the hunt. I don’t believe that in the entirety of the festival that it ever took me longer than 10 minutes to find new passengers. The other factor to working hard is sleep. Think about it like this; at any given hour of the day there is $100 potential dollars that can be made. How can you rationalize sleep when there is that type of money out here? The fact is that you need to sleep however and so the trick is to sleep as little as possible. The Uberman sleep cycle is a method for humans to get a little sleep as possible while still being able to function normally. It involves sleep for 20 min naps spaced evenly six times throughout the day. It wasn’t super intentional that I got on to something of this style of sleep but it happened none-the-less. I was also doing some experimentation with a nootropic I had just ordered called “aniracetam” which helps specifically with boosting your mind out of low performance into high performance. All of this hard work was paying bank and I continued to get more hardcore with my routine the further into the festival I got. I even stopped eating all junk food because of how much immediate monetary benefit I got from eating healthy. The second part and the much more valuable part is working smart. By this, I mean supply and demand. As I said earlier, I did not go more than 10 minutes without finding new customers but the average for finding new customers was more like less than 1 minute with a peak time new customer rating of just seconds. At first, I charged a normal city fair of $2 a block. Soon I realized that I wanted to have a good amount of people literally disgusted that I would ask so much. I would ask for the heavens and if I got rejected it would only take me moments to find another potential fair. This little trick made me thousands of dollars over the 5-day event.

The last night of EDC I worked until well after the sun came up The guy I rented my bike from came to get what was his late in the afternoon. I remember stumbling to help him lift the bike into the back of his truck, I then crawled by into the comfort of my Subaru and passed out so hard I did not notice the desert heat for even a moment.

EDC was the highlight of my summer. With the money I made I was able to pay off the last of my cc debt and go to another festival in southern California- Lightning in a bottle where I was able to send more than a few people on a DMT trip of a lifetime. After LIB I moved back to Denver where I rented a spot in Cap-Hill, continued to work pedicabs, and opened up my own business generating and selling leads door-to-door for a few different companies. Tree trimming and roofing were my bread and butter. A hailstorm hit pushing my life, for the first time, into economic prosperity. I bought a motorcycle and a motorhome and moved back home to Minnesota where I do most of the same thing but now with old friends. I road pedicabs at the Sturgis motorcycle rally and was even able to fit another festival in called Shangri-la (best festival ever). I now find myself wearing a flannel and looking out the library window at falling leaves in a chilled Minneapolis downtown. It has been a wonderful summer. The greatest summer.

The third part of any adventure is the post-trip recuperation time. It’s a time that I often become introverted and sometimes madly depressed. It can be hard to accept that in the end there you are and for all the changes that you feel that you have gone through, once again you find yourself back at your baseline, back in boredom. For me, it sometimes takes a long time to pick myself up and get back into preparation build mode but in the end, there is nothing else I can do. With every trip I get better and the past few months in MN I have been able to release myself from the post-trip depression faster than ever and have started to prepare for the next adventure.

In less than a month I will head into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where I will start my season as a Ski/board-instructor at Vail Resorts. This life would be something of a dream to me many years ago but now I am growing accustomed to it. I often feel scared and nervous but now, my excitement far suppresses any negative emotions that might prevent me from moving forward. The fun doesn’t stop there and already I am ready for the next adventure to come.

Much love,

-Chris

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Living out of a Subaru

Today I woke up in the back of my Subaru and took 15 minutes to meditate on where I am in life and where I am going. I am literally parked in the Sodo area of Seattle Washington, close to my friends bus and close the garage that I ride pedicabs out of. Last night was the first night spent in the Subaru. I changed sleeping positions three different times throughout the night. Today I will get some proper bedding for the fold down back seat and then next week I might head south for trim work and fit myself nicely into this west coast kind of life.

My friends are starting to take off in success and I am here, getting thrown all over the United States having to rebuild from zero time and time again. My experiences come with me and I am more competent at building a life than I have ever been. Right now I feel that its time to set my sites on one plan and stick with it. Right as I make up my mind to do this however a million options open up. Only the near future seams certain. In about a week I will head south with some friends in search of trim work. Trim work is not something I am fond of but it would be a way to make money without spending. After trim season I could head even further south and explore what is going on in LA and other parts of SoCal. It would be there that I sell the Subaru and head out to Australia for the adventure that I had originally planned on making.

There is another plan however, that could push the Australian adventure back about 8 months. Here in Seattle my best friend is a guy who turns old school busses into mobile homes. He is making a great argument in my mind that  could get me to stay here in Seattle and convert a bus over the winter into a place thats able to transport pedicabs around the states to different festivals. This would involve me investing quite a bit into building the bus and also into building a pedicab that is festival worthy. After the festival season comes to an end I would be able to sell all of my equipment, take what I have earned, and head out to Australia like I had originally planned.

As I talk about great plans with different friends that I have made over the years, we all talk about what we are going to do with this coming summer and skip over talk of the winter. It seems like everyone is going to hibernate for the winter. I cannot let this come to pass. It seems vauge to head south for the winter. I would like to travel to some distant place where I can make money or maybe work another winter on the mountain but still the issue of money comes into play. Perhaps Hawaii, or maybe Australia, or maybe here in Seattle.

There is so much to do and so little time to do it and the coffee does nothing but stimulates this feeling. For now I will go and speak with my friends about great things before heading out on the town to make money and then head back to my car to sleep. Good things are happening. Good connections are being made. Life is good and it’s alwasy time to act.

BikeTaxi

It’s been called a biketaxi, pedicab, rickshaw; call it whatever you want I don’t care much. I have been these things all over the country for the past three years. Started out in Minnesota, road in Phoenix Arizona, New Orleans, Colorado, and am currently riding in Salt Lake. This paper is about my experience and what’s different about each location with an inside look at the advantages and disadvantages that come with the scene. Biketaxies are in just about every major city and if they are not then please let me know so that I can move to that city and get things rolling for myself.

Three years ago, downtown Minneapolis; for the first time in my life I see a biketaxi roll by. I must have needed a job at the time and so I stopped the driver to ask him how one gets to do what he does. He directed me to the pedicab office downtown and within a matter of a few days I’m a rider. I remember one of the rides from the first day. These two guys hop on my bike and tell me that they are professional bikers. I tell them that its they who should be giving me a ride. They think that’s a great idea and I switch with one of them. It was impressive how much this “professional biker” struggled with the extra weight of his friend and I in the back carriage, and he was more than willing to admit to his weakness with the realization how different the pedicab is from his carbon fiber light weight bicycle he is used to. This guy ends up taking us to some deserted back parking lot and shows us through a small door in an old mill type of building. We walk through a cement hallway with pipes hanging out of the walls and in through the door at the end of this hallway. I expect to be standing in a boiler room or something but instead I find myself in a top class cocktail bar filled with men in fashionable suits, women in fancy dresses, and bartender wearing vests (Spoon and Stable- 211 North First Street, mpls). The lights were set to low and I spend my time drinking some sort of rum coconut drink (damnit I wish I remembered what it was called!) and listening to these two guys tell me about their bike ride over the weekend. Turns out they rode with Lance Armstrong’s coach and enjoy horse racing. When all was said and done I dropped them off at their destination. The one came up to me and handed me a 20 while thanking me for the ride, then his friend came up and handed me a 100 while thanking me for the ride. They call rides that earn 100 a unicorn in MN, first day magic is what I called it.

A few months later I had moved out of Minnesota and was living in New Orleans and actively seeking employment with one of the pedicab companies there in the city, Redcab with Sal is who I ended up working for. Tid-bit about the NOLA pedicab scene- There are three companies that have monopolized the biketaxi industry in NOLA, so there are no independent riders. This has to do with the corrupt business practices that take place throughout the entire city. There are also many more people that have the desire to become rickshaw drivers, and thus the competition is high, and thus it’s harder to make an honest buck. All of that can be ignored with these next two words: Festival Season. If you are one of the top riders and you want to work your ass off during things like Martigras, Blues and Jazz Fest, Decadence, ect, then you for sure can make your money down in New Orleans.

Back in 2015 I got an offer from my old company in MN to come work the super bowl in Phoenix AZ, so I jumped on the fastest CL rideshare I could find (A trucker named Dave) and shipped my ass out to Phoenix. It was fun, competitive, and easily to most money I have ever made in my life. It was the day before the super bowl in Scottsdale where Drake was putting on a small hotel rooftop show where tickets where 1k a pop. I would jump from one ride to the next without a break. My customers where dressed to the hilt in suites and dresses with actually diamonds hanging from their ears. I ended up earning many unicorns and by the end of the night I counted out 1080 dollars. Not bad for 5 and ½ hours of work. After the super bowl I stayed in Phoenix for about a month and kept riding, but for a different company (Billy O). In less than a week I went from making the most money I have ever made in my life to making the least. The crowds clear out after the big game is over and I would spend entire days on the hot desert streets of Phoenix making 10 bucks for an entire shift. I stayed in the Desert, but not for the money. There is some magic coming from the artsy side of that city, but that’s for a different post.

A few states later I find myself in Colorado and once again, perusing a license so that I can ride the streets of Denver. There are a couple thing I will say about Colorado pedicabing- The rent is low. I don’t know why but the owner of the cabs in Denver don’t make you pay that much to rent them. There are also plenty of tourists to make weekend riding more than worth your time, so that as far as your average weekend earnings go, Denver might be the best place to ride. In the summer there are Broncos games too where there might be more than 200 caber riding in a day. Anyone riding is making more than 500 on those days too. It gets to the point of bumper to bumper (or wheel to bumper) traffic between riders, and the trains, and the hills, and the people, and competition, and the hotdogs… it’s something to witness.

Currently I am in Salt Lake riding for Luis. What they got going on here is that all the cabs are upgraded to the max. Personally, I have never ridden a cab with an electric motor assist, or a cab with a speaker built under the seat, or hardly even a cab with a neon light setup. Here in Salt Lake every single cab comes with all of these things stock. To be honest, it pissed me off when I saw this and I even went so far as to call the riders here no better than Uber drivers (the worst insult you can call pedicab driver). They didn’t even understand the severity of my comment of course because motor assist is all they know. The more I ride with the people of Salt Lake the more persuaded I am of the Salt Lake style of riding; and it’s not because of the motor assist. I am still working on getting my license which means I am limited in what I can ride. I take out something called “The Spider” which is a seven seater (I know, not eight) where everyone peddles while facing the middle. There are only two Spiders ever made and thus there are no regulations for them, at least not yet. The money in Salt Lake is great and so are the people. Time and again I am surprised with how easy it is to form meaningful relationships here. Last night when I road back to the garage to turn in my cab and pay my rent and I find the rest of the shop drinking beer and playing dice. I lost 53 bucks my first three rounds and vowed never to roll again.

Riding bikes like this has been my career for most of the past three years. It does not matter what kind of mood I am in when I go out for the night, by the time I come back in I am feeling great. The exercise is great, the pay is comparable to a bartender, and I get to make my own schedule. One day I would like to ride in India where they might take home 10 bucks a day, but that’s a long ways away from now and there are many more strokes of the peddle between here and there. Thanks for reading folks. Hope that we get to speak again.