Thursday, March 26, 2015

Springtime Fests

Hi there everybody!

I am very excited that it is springtime once again. Flowers are blooming, warm breezes are blowing, and of course, lots of college students are partying here in Athens! This is the time of year where you'll find Bikes Bring It offering services during the daylight hours, provided there is a street party happening somewhere in Athens that day. You might see me starting around 2pm and going home for a break at around 6pm, and coming back uptown for my regular shift from 12am to 3am.

I apologize to those who got my card and tried to call me during the fests. I neglected to adjust the settings on my google voice number, which only routes calls to my phone during the regular shift times. I will try to remember to fix that before heading out to the next street fest this Saturday.

Mill Fest was a hell of a good time, and good publicity for Bikes Bring It. I was featured on the front page of the Athens News, and also appeared in a short clip from the video produced by The Post. Many thanks go out to those media outlets that helped me get exposed to larger audiences than ever before.

At a certain point Mill Street was closed off at the intersection with College Street, forbidding me from carrying passengers down the hill. This was a bit of an inconvenience for me and cost me one fare, but I kept on at it and simply took people on a little detour to the next intersection thereafter. I had the pleasure of taking a break at 89 Mill after I was finished working for the afternoon, where the mud seemed not to care about the delineation between indoors and out, and I also met some eager fans. One even boasted to me about how he presented an essay two years ago to his public speaking class on why everyone should ride the bike taxi. I was delighted!

High Fest came the following week, and I started off by heading to the Cycle Path to upgrade the drivetrain on the Rasta Buggy. My granny gear had been sucking chain since I started riding this year, and I was simply using the middle ring instead, which meant pushing a heavy gear ratio when it came to hill climbing. Not exactly what I wanted to do for the fest located on some of the steepest grade in Athens, so we replaced the cranks, chainrings, chain, and bottom bracket. My granny gear is two teeth better than the last one, my chain is heavier duty, and the BB is sealed for years of maintenance-free usage. I felt really good having half the shop's staff out there on the street helping me install the new parts, like it was a full-service gas station or an indycar pit-stop. The difference was amazing and I left spinning my way happily up Union Street. Next I had a nice brunch on the College Green with my ever-loving partner, Sarie, and then I was off to see what kind of fares I could get before the parties died down. High Fest is not particularly well suited for pedicabbing, but I did all right.

 So this weekend it's time for the most notorious of all the Athens fests, Palmer Fest. We shall see how that one goes!

Thanks for tuning in! Bike Man out.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Looking ahead as we break in 2015

Hello, and Happy New Year! Pedicab service began halfway into January this year, and I've only missed a few nights due to weather since then. Oh, I also took a holiday on the celebration of Imbolc, which is halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox and involves jumping into an icy pond. I came out refreshed and feeling full of good intentions for the coming season. Hopefully it turns out to be a big year for Bikes Bring It. I have been looking for ways to expand my pedicab services, as well as refine what it is I already do, which is transporting human beings in the wildest and most exhilarating way possible. I would like to try to provide you, the public, with even more if I can, though. I want to be a good role model, with good advice to give people. I want to be an ally, who can give respect and support to any group that is underprivileged. Someone who stands up for others if they are being mistreated. There is one other thing, too. I also want to offer someone a job. I want to share this idiosyncratic economic opportunity that I have hit upon. I would train someone in every way I could think of to be able to provide a similar level of pedicab service for the Athens nightlife. Do you have what it takes? You might want to look into renting a pedicab from Bikes Bring It!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spring to Fall 2014

Lots of bike stuff has been happening! Here's a bunch of words and pictures:

 In March my mate and I traveled to Columbus for Oh!o Oh!o, which was a regional planning meeting for Bike!Bike!, an international conference for bike collectives and community bike projects. We checked out the clubhouse where the Righteous Mothers build their tallbikes and I decided to plan on leading a workshop there on how to build a cargo sidecar.
Bike people looking at bike things in a bike place

In April I entered one of my pedicabs into a competition by ReUse Industries for items recycled into either functional or artistic pieces. The Widecar Junior won 2nd place in its category!
The Widecar Junior at the Reuse Competition

Between April and June I made a new pedicab. This was intended to be a easy to rent, lightweight 2-passenger sidecar that would be stable and easy to handle. The 20" workhorse is a beach cruiser with extended back and front end. The steering geometry was customized for better sidecar physics compared to a standard bicycle fork that has more trail. It was named The Blue Dwarf.
Mostly fabricated in April
The Blue Dwarf on its inaugural night in June

I also learned how to sew this year with a handed down Singer Rocketeer. I made some costumes and hats to wear pedicabbing. The sewing machine also comes in handy for tailoring seat cushions for my bikes.
Robin Hood costume worn pedicabbing the Rasta Buggy
Bowling-style shirt

Marching band style hat

Woodsman style hat
On the new sidecar with my yellow marching hat

Gettin hugs with my yellow bowling shirt

 I got my first tandem in May and ride it with my mate which is pretty awesome.


This year once again I biked to the Nelsonville Music Festival and provided pedicab service outside the festival area among the parking lots, campgrounds, and sometimes the Nelsonville area. Dan contracted a rental bike for the first time and rode the Widecar Junior.
Dan and I in the bike area outside the gate
Trailer on the Rasta Buggy traveling the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
Best campsite of the whole Fest

Bikes Bring It was contracted in June to provide service to the Perry County Art Walk. Dan and I traveled to Somerset, home of the oldest Catholic church in Ohio and we rode folks on the Rasta Buggy and the Blue Dwarf, although the Rasta Buggy was starting to have serious hub problems that I had to fix with some washers from the hardware store on the square. The mayor who found me through the Paw Paw Festival last year was very gracious in hosting us for his event.
Dan pedaling some Art Walk appreciators

We brought the Blue Dwarf, a commissioned woodbarrow, and some other bikes to Summer Solstice at Wisteria for general good times and a few tips.
Festy buggy!

The Bikes Bring It tent

A chalice of wine by the emerald tent

Squiddy, a new friend I had on my seat
The rest of the Summer I was working my other trade, carpentry, which involved doing an addition on a house from start to finish on my own.
Before, in July

After, August

Just two weeks before my 30th birthday I got a bike tread tattoo on my arm that I have been considering for a long time.
Showing off the new tat with my custom-tailored sleeveless business shirt

Then, as we geared up for Bike!Bike! 2014, I finished the frame redesign on the Bumblebee to sell it to an interested buyer in Oxford, Ohio. Columbus would be our meeting point to make the transaction, and then Bike!Bike! had a huge critical mass ride and I did that cargo sidecar workshop I had wanted to do.
The bicycle formerly known as the Bumblebee at Third Hand Bike Co-op

A test ride with me on the backseat

Riding the wheelie on my mini chopper during Critical Mass
Critical Mass, right before the cops showed up
The cargo sidecar in progress

Just add shopping cart basket
And it's done!

Ridden the next day to a protest Wendys for Fair Food
Can also be used as a place to eat food if necessary

In September I got back to pedicabbing Athens after a summer hiatus.
Wearing my new MOLLE utility belt outside Obetty's

Stylin' at BP
The Paw Paw Fest had the Blue Dwarf out at Lake Snowden this year, where I made just over my vendor and beer expenses for the weekend.
I didn't take any pictures at the Paw Paw Fest other than this one

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grab Bag of Updates for 2014

Bikes Bring It has been serving Athens for five years! And what's more, I decided to finish some projects that had been sitting in files for a while (both digital AND analog).  I now present to you subjectively new editions of both the Bikes Bring It Video Log and Bikes Bring It Illustrated! Plus an inside look at the six million dollar rebuilding of an honored sidecar in the BBI fleet.

Submitted for your viewing ensconcement, the tale of two separate encounters on the exact same night in which unwitting members of the populace come ass to seat with possibly the most infamous sidecar chariot-of-fire this side of the splashy ocean-thing: The Rasta Buggy!

 And now, hot off the scanning bed, a new installment of everyone's favorite comic strip featuring the coyote cabbie! This time he's toying with some innocent pups and taking them up to top speed on mighty roller-coaster Mill Street hill.

 Next I'd like to invite you to search your memory banks for a bike that was once called the Bumblebee. I have included an image in the case that no matches are currently found in your memory files.
Note the mini-me in this picture standing on the brand new Bumblebee sidecar. Also note that the origin of the mini-me and its current whereabouts are of no importance whatsoever. The real point is that the Bumblebee used to be a wide but short little people-carrying tricycle. It performed like a real trooper, but after 2 years it was starting to look like an old soldier. 

So, I began experimenting with a new type of genetic mutation in sidecar cyclecraft, the result of which is something more akin to a mantis or a grasshopper... I'm not entirely sure, bicycle anatomy is at times difficult to anthropomorphize.  The position of the three wheels, instead of being short and wide have now become narrower and longer to accommodate a different seating arrangement. Now it has a double bench seat in the back and a single seat next to the pilot reserved for those who call shotgun first. Now 3 passengers won't be quite as cramped on this rig and it can fit through bottlenecks like never before.
 As it still remains a little cold out, this little bug, whatever it is...won't be hatching from its egg just yet. It needs the temperatures to be a bit warmer in order to grow its new green skin out. But pretty soon you might be seeing this old friend riding your streets in a completely new form.

Other News... Pedicab season has begun for 2014! Regular days/hours of operation are currently being observed for the most part. Look to my Twitter feed for updates.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Guide to BBI's Twitter log

Hey pedicab watchers.

I figured I would let you all in on what the various shorthand devices I use on Twitter mean.

Usually every night before I begin I'll tweet an announcement just to confirm the fact that I'll be uptown with a cab taking fares. These usually occur right around midnight and if you don't see one then I probably have other things going on. I try to announce it if I will NOT be pedicabbing on one of my regular nights (Thursday thru Saturday) but that doesn't always happen. These announcements are usually made from my home computer so they don't need any shorthand. Therefore they should be pretty self-explanatory.

Once I'm out and about and I collect a fare, I will drop them off and as soon as possible send a tweet from my smartphone with some basic details about that fare, and possibly some extra details about what happened with the customers. The most generic tweet will go something like this:

CSD to Milliron 1m 1f $

So that sums up the starting location where I picked up the passengers (in this case, CSD for Court Street Diner), the destination where I dropped them off (Milliron), the number and gender of the passengers on board (one male, one female), and the tip rating (one dollar sign for cumulative tip of less than $5). Note that the tip rating disregards the amount of work performed to earn that tip and simply reflects the amount of money collected. Sometimes I will take a single passenger less than a block and receive a few dollars. While it gets the lowest tip rating, it is still a good payment for the amount of effort put in. So don't get miffed if your ride was tweeted with one dollar sign, it shows you actually paid something, which is more than some passengers do.

Now for a more intricate situation:

( Bp to grovesnor 2m 1f $$ cc to palmer 1m fb* @somebodyontwitter @somebodyelse

The opening parenthesis at the start of a tweet means that I was called by the customer to make a pick-up. (The google voice number for BBI is 740-229-9719). Then we have 2 males and 1 female being carried from BP to grovesnor street, where one of the gents and the lady got out and paid an average tip ($5 to $9) via credit card using my Square up card swiper. From there, the remaining passenger was carried to palmer street, where his tip came in the form of some non-monetary donations. The "f" means food, the "b" means a beverage, and the "*" means a different sort of consumable (if you know what I mean). At the end of the tweet (though sometimes at the beginning) are some of my passenger's twitter handles if they consented to being tagged.

How about this one:

USD to Howies 1m 1d helpin out a friend

Looks like I took a dude and his dog to Hungry Howie's from the Union Street Diner and didn't get a tip. A comment after the basic details explains why: I felt like giving him a free ride 'cause he's my dude.

Here's the guide in list form:

(: means I got a call for that fare
@(username): tagging a twitter-using customer

f4: The front four on South Green, a pretty common destination
Mill (or any other street by itself): means the ride started and ended on that street
block: means we circled the block around whatever street or landmark mentioned
cruise: means we went back and forth somewhere just for entertainment

m: male passenger
f: female passenger
ma: mom passenger (generally some of the best tippers)
dad: dad passenger  (also some of the best tippers)
k: kid passenger (not so much, but I like carting kids around)
d: canine passenger
+: cargo carried with the passengers, like a case of beer (+case)

$: $1-$4 cash
$$: $5-$9 cash
$$$: $10-$25 cash
$$$$: anything over $25 (wow, thank you!)
cc: means the tip was paid in part or in full by credit
f: food (sometimes I can get really hungry cabbing and need it)
b: beverage (I might drink a single beer or shot if I plan to work some more and save the rest)
/: a cigarette (I don't smoke them that much anymore but I will take them, maybe re-gift em)
//: two cigarettes
///: three cigarettes
*: vapors, or something
**: a bit of stash to take home

(comment): a few words about interesting things that happened
"(comment)": quoting something somebody said
@(username): tagging a twitter-using customer
yuck: means somebody lost their cookies

 Note that because I'm using a smartphone when logging fares, not everything gets punched in right. (qm instead of 1m, wf instead of 2f). Also, sometimes my tweets fail to send when the network is spotty, so they might be out of order or missed entirely. My drafts folder often has a lot of tweets that got missed somehow.

That brings us to the closing statements. After I get home, I write one last tweet that starts with the total number of miles I logged that night, followed by some comments about what kind of night it was. I may even use a hashtag. (gasp!)

Well, that does it for the guide to Bikes Bring It's Twitter feed. Now you will know what it all means. Thanks for being a part of Athen's premier pedicab service and party on!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New sidecar added to the fleet

 Here's a few more teaser photos of the newest addition to the BBI fleet (who still needs a good name). I will be picking up a 22t freewheel tomorrow to reduce the gear ratio on the main drive wheel. Once that is installed and the brakes are dialed in, it should be ready for the streets of Athens!
Above: shortly after the frame was completed, before paint.
Here we documented the first test run with my mate on the stoker seat and all of her Paw Paw Fest gear stuffed, stacked, or hanging on the bike.

Friday, September 6, 2013

College Season Opens

Hey all. It's been a few weeks since the semester begun and demand for pedicabs in Athens has risen indeed. Hopefully I will have a new sidecar operational by the Paw Paw fest nest week. (Note: no pedicab service in uptown Athens September 13-15) Here's a pic of the new rig coming along:
Anyhow, once this bike is completed it will be available for rent from Bikes Bring It to any plucky pilot who pleases to perform as a professional pedaller.

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