As we enjoyed a relaxing ride along the beautiful riverside path through Shrewsbury, weaving in and out of locals and holidaymakers enjoying the Sunday sunshine, I almost crashed into a a bright blue T-shirt standing next to a large silvery-grey rickshaw.
Pedicab Phil was standing proudly to attention in the shade of an old oak tree, waiting for customers for his shiny, new cycle taxi. Now here was a job I could understand.
“How many people can you take?” I asked.
“Three,” he said, “maximum load, a third of a tonne.” I was impressed.
How much for a ride?
Two little girls came over to ask how much for a ride. “£1.50 each for a short ride along the river or for a bit more we can go into town.” The girls ran off back to mum.
“Are you a proper taxi?” I asked. It was a bit of a contentious question.
“You know there’s over eight hundred of these in London and they don’t need a licence but here in Shrewsbury the council insist I’m licenced, like a Hackney carriage.”
We talked for a while, one horse to another, about hauling heavy loads and his fledgling human powered enterprise.
It’s not an easy business…
“Business isn’t as good as I hoped,” he explained, “the cab cost three grand and what with licence fees and not so many customers……”
I felt for the guy and all his financial and physical investment.
“How much to John O’Groats then?” I asked as Matthew and Cameron got off the tandems and went over for a closer look. But he didn’t want to get into the long distance game.