Category Archives: Pedicab

Gangsta from the Emerald Triangle

The Emerald Triangle

Every year hippies and vagabonds travel from all over the country for trim season in Northern California. For a few weeks or a few months thousands of trimmers trim weed from morning until night in something of a hippy concentration camp. Farms pay anywhere from $100 or even up to the fabled $300 per pound. In either case the job is similar to something you would find in an eastern sweatshop. Long hours, near zero job security, virtually no skill development, and a job so mind numbing that only those so high that they cant see the pot forest through all the smoke are willing to do it.

I apologies to all those who feel that trimming is one of the greatest gifts to the lower class known to man and I must admit that if you are an illegal immigrant or cant find work doing anything else then yes, trimming weed is the perfect job for you. Not for me. In this post I will be going through my life coming away from the Emerald Triangle and the type of thing that you get into, not when you trim weed but when you sell it.

My journey started off about two weeks ago. I was living in a Subaru in Seattle working as a pedicaber making ends meet one day at a time. An old friend I knew way back from my Hawaii days gave me a call and said that he needed some help with his harvest. Something about the timing of the phone call gave me some sort of spiritual vibes and so I left Seattle without a second thought. Looking back I am a bit frightened at how far away from reason this call pulled me. It was not as if there was anything holly about my friend but in any case I left without a second thought.

I found two riders on Craigslist that helped with the gas money on the way down. They both turned out to be super awesome people and I was able to learn from them the entire ride down. Spent a night in Portland and then arrived in North Cali the following night. The town that I was to meet my friend was way up in the mountains and I could not find a place where my phone could connect and so had to drive a few (30) miles back from where I came from just to get in contact with my friend. We were eventually able to meet up and he was able to show me the world that he had been living in sense we last talked way back on the island of Maui.

Up in the mountains without service everyone was as hippy as it gets, some sort of trailer person, or reder than redneck; brown neck if you will. Without phones we spent most of our time running from house to house making deals and straitening out our shit before we bounced town, which didn’t take long for us to do. In a place where there is so much weed and no money, everyone owed someone else some money. I don’t think that we got our shit perfectly strait before leaving because as we were leaving we got chased down by a dump truck that chased us down the exit road at top speed. The only reason we made it out alive was because the truck owner was a felon and driving on the public highway would have been a huge risk for him. We only barely made it to the main road but we were off. We had no money but a fuck-ton of weed and we were hitting it off like two crazed bats finding a new mountain for the first time.

Its been four days sense we were chased down by the truck. Its been a super slow and chill journey. In just about every town we pass through we stop and try and sell weed to anyone that will have some. Because of how slow we are rolling its a great way to explore the state. Selling weed is getting much easier the further away from North Cali we get. This type of life has been gangster shit the entire way too. More gangster than I am used to handling in my everyday life.

The first night we were parked waiting for a friend to get home when a girl that looked homeless asked us for a cigarette. She didn’t look harmless at all and we asked if she wanted to smoke some weed with us. She denied us and walked away. Just down the road we saw her get into a Cadillac and drive away. My friend got sketched out and told me to get in the car and drive. Just as I had pulled out of my parking spot the Cadillac came around the corner and someone held a strobe light out the window so that I could not make out who was in the car. “Got weed bitch” I heard someone say. In less than 5 minutes we were miles away from that spot and not about to go back.

The next night we traded some bud for a little thing called Lucy. We were in a college town and were able to climb the homeless hierarchy with extreme efficiency. Around noon we were talking to street kids at their pick-neck spot, by midnight that same night we were talking with what appeared to be an ordained hippy shaman who claimed that he was three hands down from the laying of the acid. Maybe it was the acid but I was super impressed with our short work in that town.

In Cali the weed laws have changed drastically in the past few years. You can legally carry up to 28 grams and if this law is broken it’s similar to a traffic ticket in that there is no jail time. Still, it is illegal to sell and today we had our first encounter with the police. My friend ran and all the cops chased him. He was able to ditch the weed before the cops caught him but still put behind bars. At this point in our journey we are balling and so he was able to pay his own bail and we are still rolling our way down to SoCal. Lucky.

We take each day at a time and the beginning of our trip was a struggle but now I feel that we are strait kicking ass. I cant say how long I will stay with this type of lifestyle. It doesn’t suit me as well as something where I keep my head lower but its new and exciting. The payoff is huge and I might just stick with it until shit goes a little crazier. Who can say? Not me. Maybe future me can. Stay tuned and I will let you know.

-Cheers mates

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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.