River Rats pedicabs ready for Bengals

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Garrison Hilliard, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. River Rats pedicabs ready for Bengals
    New service has 5 drivers ready to go next weekend

    By Mary Jo Nead
    Enquirer contributor

    Decked out in orange and black, the pedicabs at Newport on the Levee are ready
    for the Bengals' first playoff game.

    "...We will be operating in Cincinnati and can take people to and from the
    Bengals games," said Dianne Wente, 55, owner of River Rats, the only pedicab
    operation in Kentucky or Ohio.

    "As far as I know, the closest one is in Detroit," said Wente, who started the
    business in August.

    Currently the service area, or "rat maze," extends 2½ miles on both sides of the
    Ohio River.

    "We cross the Ohio River at the Purple People Bridge and into Friendship Park,"
    Wente said. "In the spring we'll be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 2
    a.m. when the bars close."

    With five bikes and drivers ready to go, Wente anticipates being profitable by

    River Rats is operating on weekends or by appointment now. Wente is getting the
    word out about the pedicabs. "People in cars honk and wave and want to know what
    it is."

    The pedicab is a three-wheeled pedal-driven cab. With more than 8,000 of them in
    30 U.S. cites, the pedicab has evolved from a novelty to an environmentally
    friendly transportation alternative found in tourist destinations.

    The gaily decorated pedicabs at Newport on the Levee are a far cry from their
    predecessor, the hand-pulled Japanese rickshaw. The 21-speed pedicabs are
    powered by electric motors, making it a little easier on the drivers pulling
    passengers up and down hilly Northern Kentucky streets.

    "I rode across country twice this year," said Andy MacIntyre, 49, the company's
    operations manager, as he drove his pedicab through Newport's historic district.

    But on some of the hills, he's grateful for the motor.

    "Our cabs are made in Colorado by a company that has been making them for 20
    years," said MacIntyre. "Each one is custom made and will take up to 800

    The cabs are black - not for the Bengals - but to reflect the historic nature of
    Newport, according to MacIntyre. Each cab can seat three passengers.

    Drivers rent the pedicabs from River Rats for $25 to $35 depending on the time
    and day it's rented. For special events, the rental can be higher. The drivers
    negotiate fares with their riders and keep what they make. Operators must pass a
    background check and receive six hours of training in bike maintenance and
    driving in traffic.

    "We go about 8-10 miles per hour," MacIntyre said. "During rush hour, we're
    moving about the same speed as the cars. When traffic speeds up, the pedicabs
    make room for the cars."

    Pedicabs are parked at the west entrance of the Levee's valet circle.

    (See photos at site)