Category Archives: Rickshaw

The Boring Details of Building an Excellent Life

It’s the spring is when man is at his most creative. My last post was written in the dead of winter and so much has happened since then. Last I wrote “The Charismatic Character” from inside a ski lodge surrounded by groups of skiers and snowboarders and many different screaming children and families. If I ever felt fatigued with my writing the slopes where only yards away. The last post was a fairly intensive research project and so having the ability to escape into a winter wonderland was a huge key as to why it turned out so well. It was shortly after publishing that post that I wrapped up my time on the mountain and descended back into city living. Still broke and still in my car but with a much richer and more meaningful life. The adventure spirit was catalyzed up on the mountain and I can now claim to have passed into the realm of true adventurers and day by day my thirst for the next journey only grows. There are so many things I need to do and so long as everything plays out according to plan. I will just barely scrape on through, making discipline and thriftiness of highest importance.

I got a boring 9-5 (actually 11-8) job that requires I show up to work on time everyday. As much as I hate showing up on someone else’s schedule, the job pays well. The sacrifice is something I can stand only because I know that it’s something I need to do for a short time before the fruits of my labor will come through. I can feel myself becoming frustrated at times and I wonder if it’s not because I have never really put in more than 20 hour a week at any one job before in my life, and then only for short sprints. I have always been more focused on creativity and my own ventures that I could never handle working for someone else’s dream. This week will be my 5th out of 8 total weeks that I plan on putting in at the company. At this point it feels like I am finding my flow and I expect my best performance to come in the following few days. Because of where I am financially, the work is necessary but all I want to do is create and this job is not the place for my creation, and so I look forward to the day where I can take my last paycheck and make my own way away from the company.

With all of the work I need some place to release all of my tense up energy. Dancing might be the thing to do and I should really find something like that for no reason other than release. At the moment I have not found anything that truly heals my soul. Instead I have taken my pain from the job and am using it for more work. On the weekends I pedicab which acts as my way to release and to grow in my social skills. Getting on a bike and yelling nonsense at drunk people has such a cathartic effect that by the end of a long night on a cab I can let out all of those witty and humorous things that I could never really tap into during the work week. Something about the combination of exercise and short funny interactions that gets the juices flowing. Its pedicabing that will do a majority of the legwork in shaping the events of the summer which brings me to my next point; the plan.

Last week I received my first paycheck from working a fulltime job. The first thing I spent my money on was a permit to ride pedicabs at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas. For all of you who have not heard, EDC is one of the largest electronic dance festivals in the world. Today most people would call it a rave. (I say this having been to the old school raves from the 90s, where the people (true ravers) all scoff at the modern usage of the term, but such is the way of change.) EDC in Vegas is sure to be full of pink tutus, shirtless bros, all of the drugs, and a light and art show sure to blow the mind of even the most sober dancers in the crowd. I paid more than half a rack just to get the permit and will be paying almost three times as much to rent a bike. That puts me in at over 2k invested just to be able to ride. I have no doubt that it will be well worth the investment. Still, my work here in Portland comes down to the wire in putting together all the elements that will allow me to rage face with the ravers down in Vegas. There is a lot to do and only just enough time to do it.

Instead of going to the bars and drinking all the local beer this great city has to offer, I work on my discipline and putting together everything I need to put together in order to make my dreams come true. To be honest, I like the life of hard work more than the life of leisure and play. I was never really good at having so much free time anyways and so feel that this type of working intensity life will stay with me even after I leave this place. It’s the type of hard work that sinks in to my off the clock time and let me tell you, it feels so good to have the discipline to do the things I want to do. Right now I am reading three books, I have a meditation practice that has been going strong for over a month, I am actively producing creative works by the daily, and for the first time in years I am waking up before 7am on a consistent basis. I wish I had the funds to start yoga class but I bet I get a week in right before I leave.

Jesus said it best when he proclaimed that “to all that have, more will be given; and to all that have not, everything will be taken.” Upward spirals tend to continue upward, just as much as downward spirals tend to continue downward. Being human we are capable to seeing the consequences of our actions but changing our lives from negative to positive is something that often requires some sort of terrible inspiration to set one down a different path. We know the type of things that is required to change a life; be it the awesome or the awful, both can have a profound effect on the choices we make. Sometimes hitting rock bottom can be what it takes to make one feel that they can no longer keep living as they have. Other times it’s the realization of how great life can become. What’s important is to keep pushing the envelope of life and to keep taking risks. A life lived in the middle will produce mediocrity. A life lived on the edge will shape and define you into something smooth and refined.

Over the past few years I have made a life of traveling from place to place. As soon as I get comfortable I know that it’s time to move on to something new. It’s been hard living like this and now I yearn for order more than anything. From where I sit now I see the potential of building a business that spans all over the states. With the connects I have made and the skills I possess I feel more than capable of creating phenomenal income that would allow me to travel the country and create the order that I crave so much, but something about the chaos is calling and so I feel compelled to throw myself back into the unknown. It’s because I feel that I will come back stronger than ever with new skills that I have never dreamt of having; and so its with my favorite type of sadness that I turn my back on a business built in the USA and instead set my sights on a foreign land and all of the unknown that comes with living in a new country.

Thanks for reading. It’s my hope that you are able to get half as much from my writing as I do. Two minds are better than one and I would love to collaborate so drop a riff in the comments below and we can create something that will change our lives together. I currently reside in Portland and in a few weeks will be in Vegas. After Vegas I plan on traveling the country so if you reside in the United States then lets make plans to meet up.

Until next time.

-Chris

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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.