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.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bikes at the Starwood Festival

Starwood is another festival held at Wisteria down in Meigs county, only about 25 miles from my house. I took advantage of the proximity and packed two trips. One for the tents and bikes, and another for all my accoutrements and some more bikes.

I was there with some new bike innovations I had been working on (see upcyclebikes.com) to either sell or rent, or at the very least just to inspire and spread joy. These four new bikes were completed in about 6 days just before the week-long festival began.

And of course, I had the ever-dependable Rasta Buggy out (after the rains dried a little) to cart people (sometimes things) around and make a few tips.

I had a super stellar time at Starwood. This festival is dripping with pure awesome sauce. If you need some reassurance of that fact, check out the bonfire:

Coming home, I somehow managed to pack it all into one trip. My purchases from vendors at the fest include 2 new sarongs, a really inexpensive pair of brown leather pants, 3 old hats, and a grey short-pile tight-fitting fur vest.

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