Tuesday, February 3, 2009

getting’ paid to ride!

Its official! I am a licensed and working pedicab driver...errr rider…make that pedaler! It’s pretty much a really super duper awesome job. I am working for Perfect Pedicab, which as glorious fate would have it, sits directly across the street from The Green Parrot, my favorite bar in the world (think Sully’s, but in the tropics). For the last three days, I have been riding up and down Duval Street picking up people, and pedaling them around while talking about the shitty weather back home and sharing crazy stories of Key West. At their destination, I drop off my passengers and they give me cash money! Money! For riding a bike and talking about interesting shit. I love this job!

Friday, being my first day, started with Kim training me on the trikes and reviewing the rules of the city pertaining to how to park, how to ride, where not to go and other buerocratic and safety type stuff. I also got a playful warning not to hit any parked cars!! (yep, its been done before) Then they let me loose on the streets of Key West. Woooo-haaaa!

My first fare was a mom and daughter from Chicago, who needed to make a stop to shop enroute to their hotel near the Southernmost Point. Another was a couple from Kentucky wanting to stay longer. Three 20somethings working on the Pearl, a rerouted cruise ship, were loving their unexpected trip to the island. Colorado, Australia, Bosnia, France, NYC, people from all over were excited for the ride and really enjoyed themselves. It felt great. I am getting paid to pedal, meet people from all over the world and tell stories. Sweeet! Well, except for the lack of insurance, no medical benefits and the pillaging I am doing to my bank account when grocery shopping. And slow days can really suck because each day starts in the red and only getting enough fares will get you into the black, and hopefully far enough to survive. But still, seemingly a super sweet gig for me, and I am absolutely, totally enjoying it.

"Coco frio!" Saturday’s highlight was meeting Manny, the coconut man. Towards the end of the work day, several of us were hanging out on Whitehead Street behind a pick-up truck full of coconuts and their delicious water. Manny was chopping one end, leaving a quarter-sized hole, perfect for drinking with a provided straw, or just straight up as we were…au natural. mmmm……. sooo fresh and sooo good. He’s a pretty freakin’ funny character. Tourists were all smiles with a well spent $3. Go check him out while in town. Manny, thanks for the hook up, I got you when you need that ride! "Only three coconuts left!"

Sunday. Day three. I now know where all the hills are on Duval, Fleming and Southard Streets. If you’ve been here, you prolly think it is flat. Shit! The highest point on the island is only 18 feet. But trust me, when pedaling three passengers you suddenly notice even the slightest slopes. Now it seems so obvious. Even with 21 speeds, I tend to stay in the middle chainring; occasionally using the large ring if I want some speed with an empty cab. 

Sunday was super slow. So slow, that the bored  strippers ladies from the Key West Entertainment Club, were in front of their building, on the sidewalk, with signs reading, “free hugs.” I love this town! My apologies for the lack of a photo...

click Read More
for some random photos I shot the last few days.

With temps in the 50’s at night and 60’s in the day due to the nasty cold front, I’ve been needing to wear a fleece and scarf with my shorts to keep warm. Very strange weather.

Last week I knew I was tempting fate as the laundrymat would close before my clothes were dry. AndIi was ok with that and prepared to leave with slightly wet clothes. As things turned out, the manager dude pulls up, talks to me and then starts explaining how to lock up the joint after I am done! This does not happen in Hartford...ever! Anyways, here's a pic of the laundrymat and mi bicicleta after locking up. Yeah, there are no windows, just security bars to try and keep it breezy.

A random colorful bike next to mine near sunset! Mallory Square Grouper...

A dude from NYC fishing at sunset. yep, we troll by bicycle in Key West!

My normal commute home from the big grocery store along a waterfront pedi/bicycle trail. 

The southernmost Menorah!


Brendan said...

what's the gearing on that weird thing?

Ominotigre said...

I'll have to keep an eye out for you on Duval.
Hope you're keeping warm, I had to ride around in pants yesterday!

chillwill said...

uhhhhh, D. none of the above!? i dunno dude, i'll ask, i'll count the teeth on the front chainring if needed, but i don't see myself counting the rear gears. well, not unless beer is involved.

matt, when are we riding?

Brendan said...

so, are you going to throw key west's first alley cat?

Brendan said...

presently, this is the only thing I can find:

Gatoville Gallery
Gatoville Gallery is located in the always sunny Key West, Florida. Here you can find wide variety of unique and one of a kind products designed and crafted by local artists including hand painted shirts and dresses, the famous and hand printed "Key West Alley Cat" shirt, bags, jewelry, etchings, photos, mugs, original paintings and prints of Key West artists.

chillwill said...

ohhh hells yeah! already got some of the checkpoints and tasks in my head....

i gotta get critmass started too, thinking maybe having a theme every month and related sweet flyer.
February - The Red Ride?
the pirate ride!
christmas in july ride!

was there a hartford ride last week?

chillwill said...

palabra! lots of cats here and alleys too. Hemmingway's house and it's six toed cats are a few housed from my tiny apartment.

Brendan said...

well, it wasn't really a critical mass, but the three of us went for a pleasant bike ride. it was this guy, ryan, from uha who emailed us about the uha criterium and that younger kid from west hartford with the cotered crank single speed conversion.