Self-Employed

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Pedal Power

Thursday, January 01, 2009
Nathan Lipson has been an NASE Member for one year. He owns Metrocycle Pedicabs in Austin, Texas. His Web site is www.metrocyclecab.com

Tell us about Metrocycle Pedicabs.
Metrocycle Pedicabs is a bicycle taxi and outdoor advertising service. Our pedicabs are 100-percent human powered and provide an environmentally-friendly alternative means of transportation. We offer safe and fun pedicab rides throughout the entertainment district in Austin and beyond. These pedal-powered green machines are pollution-free and have zero carbon emissions. It’s a fun and unique way to get around downtown.

I started Metrocycle Pedicabs in 2006 with a single bike-cab. Since then Metrocycle Pedicabs has grown to 20 pedicabs and one rickshaw, the old Chinese-style taxi where the driver literally pulls people in a carriage. Services are available for group rides at corporate conventions, sightseeing tours or private parties including weddings, bachelorette parties, birthdays and other special events.

We also offer mobile advertising space on each pedicab. The whole pedicab can be wrapped with an ad. The advertisement is slow moving, at eye level and grabs attention.

Who pedals the pedicabs?
The riders are independent contractors. They determine which days they’d like to ride and simply lease the pedicab for those days. Metrocycle Pedicabs sponsors about 30 riders. We have people of all ages, sizes and backgrounds that pedicab. About half the riders are students; the others are a variable bunch including teachers, actors, musicians and health nuts.

What’s the coolest thing about running Metrocycle Pedicabs?
I enjoy everything that’s entailed with running a business – from selling new advertising contracts to pedicab maintenance. I still try to pedicab as much as possible because it keeps me fit and I enjoy riding. Really the coolest thing is being my own boss, working as hard or as little as I want to and without anyone telling me how to do my job.

I love the fact that in this modern age many cities across the U.S. and even across the globe are reverting back to the old school rickshaw or bicycle taxi as a means of public transportation. It’s a very efficient, fun and healthy means of transportation.

How does the NASE help your business?
I joined NASE for access to affordable health insurance. In the near future I’d like to apply for an NASE Business Development Grant. If I get approved for the grant, I’d devote the funds to the development of my Web site.

Any advice for your fellow NASE Members?
Start small and work your way up. If your business is successful you can always grow to meet the demand.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received from a customer?

“Nice legs” is said to every pedicabber at least once every night.

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