Friday, January 30, 2009

Star City Pedicab – a new way to get around downtown

Valerie, Ron’s daughter, Reanna and Ron McCorkle

Pedicabs are all the rage in big cities like New York and Boston. Now Roanoke will soon be counted among them. Ron McCorkle, an officer of Sharebike has purchased a Pedicab that can best be described as a rickshaw with a driver in front.

McCorkle said he has been considering it for a while and decided that it was the perfect compliment to Sharebike. At this point Dickie is the only experienced full-time driver who will be training 8 other drivers as they prepare for their “grand expansion” at the St Patrick’s Day parade on March 14th.

Drivers will lease Pedicab by signing up for times and days via google on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each independent driver sets his or her own rate. However, Dickie has concluded through research that the most effective means of compensation is through tips. However, guided narrated tours and/or charters will have a fee. Actually, all rides will come with narration unless a bit of “snuggling privacy” is the request. McCorkle stated that, “Pedicab is not income driven.” The policy is “that we won’t refuse service except for safety reasons.” Details of the service should be finalized by February 1st.
Touring the greenways is expected to be a popular service and it is a certainty that the service will operate during downtown festivals and events.
Pedicab is completely non-profit and all proceeds generated from leasing and advertising will be placed in a Pedicab Maintenance Fund for improvements and eventual purchase of another Pedicab. One improvement would be an electric assist for uphill climbing. This would allow for expansion into neighborhoods. McCorkle even has his sights set on Roanoke County, Vinton, and Salem.
James Rosar owner of CYCLOWARD located in the Market building will function as McCorkle’s “pit crew.” Rosar will provide any maintenance needed to keep Pedicab on the go. The Pedicab is made out of fiberglass. Shocks on Pedicab provide a very smooth comfortable ride.
McCorkle plans to market souvenirs like shirts, hats and cups with the “Pedicab” logo. Advertising on the cab is expected to be a significant part of income. They plan to be on the road all the time and will be advertised through AAA. Tourism will be the big thing ushering visitors from the Hotel Roanoke. Pedicab will start out with Sunday tours and allow for stops and pictures along the tour route. There are even plans in the works for food delivery service from the Market building on weekdays.
McCorkle made it clear that Pedicab is community driven and is meant to “build relationships between groups and individuals.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community

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