Sunday, July 19, 2009

Folly, Fatigue

This past weekend I(Nolan) celebrated my 25th birthday, it was a weekend full of learning and new experiences.
First off, I learned that running a business requires vigilance. I made the faulty mistake of not telling those people calling the pedicab phone that I was out of town and we were unable to provide rides this weekend. This was based upon my silly assumption that because of the chilly weather that many people wouldn't care for a ride. Due to my folly I received several agitated messages from a caller who wanted me to provide services for their friend on their wedding.
It was a missed opportunity and I truly regret being negligent of the pedicab phone, on the other hand, every mistake should be seen as a learning opportunity. Therefore I will learn to always post my whereabouts on the voicemail or on the website or perhaps this blog.

What I did experience while I was out of town was a trip to Millville Minnesota, where they hold the only pro motocross races in the state.
While I am a large lover of bicycles, and find them to be pristine and efficient sources of transportation. I also enjoy the motorcycle, the red headed stepchild of the bicycle. It was quite a sight to see the speed and power that two wheels can have, as well as the control and dexterity of the riders. It was loud but in a good way where you feel it in your chest more then your ears, like a dazzling firework on the 4th of July.

Speaking of which, I had the opportunity to provide rides for people on the 4th along St. Anthony Main and was enjoying my time there oh so much more then trolling around uptown or downtown.
It has been noted that the festivals and large events of the city will perhaps turn into the bread and butter of this organization, as Brent related his positive experience at the Basilica Block Party. The good and bad thing about Minnesota, the ability to pedicab in the winter is very minimal, but the good thing is that in the summer there is almost always some sort of celebration and event going on every weekend.

As I turn a year older I have decided to try and dedicate myself to this endeavor, to squeeze in time on the pedicab when not at my other steady paying job. I know that hard work will pay off in the end.
Some Have suggested that the work might be eased by clipless pedals, yet an article in the eco-velo blog that I like to read says that maybe the efficiency isn't worth the hassle of people who want to walk around off their bike. It's a debate I will continue to have with myself as time goes on.
Another new thought I had, somewhat related to the 4th of July where my trusty old phone became helpless after another crash to the ground. The purchase of a new phone could lead to a new possibility for the Pedicab. The GPS ability in many phones today can be hooked up to Google Latitude, a map application that can tell you or your friends where you are.

This would give people the possibility to look on their phone to see if the pedicab is nearby, in downtown versus uptown and what have you.

Learning and loving the experience as you go, the mantra for the birthday weekend.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

They come to you

The other day I watched a movie called "Hell on Wheels", or at least that was the English title, the German title is Hollentour with a accent on the o. The movie follows mostly German riders from the T-mobile team as the go through the 2003 Tour De France. The way they discuss the highs and lows of the tour are enlightening, to hear directly from a rider as he is within the three weeks of racing.
The other interesting and more fascinating part I found was a man retelling different lore of the tour. How it began as a publicity stunt of endurance. I mean 1903 had more carriages then bicycles or cars. The ability at the time to carry yourself across on country upon a bicycle was something to be marveled along with causing publicity.

The Bicycle was the most human powered way to travel, if you look at calories consumed by humans versus horses one could make the argument that bicycles are the most able and efficient way to travel. The importance of this is underestimated in the annals of history as the combustible engine was brought to fame shortly after the first bicycle boom of the 1890's.
If the engine hadn't come along, one could imagine a stretch of bicycles like a trade caravan stretching across the Middle East and China. Perhaps the western world would have had noodles a bit quicker had Marco Polo invented a bicycle for his travels.

The other important thing pointed out by this Tour historian as he argued it as the most famous sporting event. Bicycling races are free to the public, they come to you. You may have to travel a handful of hours to perch yourself ontop of a mountain, but you won't have to plop down a 30 or 40 dollars the way you will for football or basketball tickets. And while they zoom past sometimes so fast you only see them for a second, for that second though they are meters away from you, you could even smell their sweat in the breeze they create. The zero cost to watch a world class sporting event, allows people to spend their money on paint to put on the road to cheer their favorite riders. They also build large statues and place them roadside in fields of France.
Off to see the explosions tonight and hopefully ride people around if the rain holds off.