“I fell in love with riding a bike again after moving to Logan Square,” says Robert Ashmore, founder of RoadieCab (@roadiecab). “I found the guy who designed these [bikes] in Poland, went there to test it, and it all just kind of worked out.”
RoadieCab is a new cab service opening in Logan Square this Spring with the idea of bringing sustainable, bike-cab rides to the neighborhood.
Ashmore plans to bring the patented bicycle cab design he discovered in Poland to the States. (He’s only the second U.S. company to purchase a small starter fleet.) Ashmore wants to find other like-minded entrepreneurs in other cities to buy the same design, with the emphasis on community-minded services and a new way of looking at your home and hood—a safer way to commute that emphasizes history, culture, shared interests and good old-fashioned storytelling as you travel.
In short: RoadieCab is coming and Ashmore thinks it will be the second wave of the bicycle revolution.
A friend from Dublin first suggested the idea of a bike-operated cab service to Ashmore. The current pedi-cab system in Chicago is “geared to tourists” and, in many cases, priced for tourists.
But here in bike-loving Logan Square, it’s not far-fetched to think people would choose a cleaner, quieter, more-scenic way to get home at night—or even plan an evening with friends reliant on pedal power.
Ashmore also hopes to provide guided tours of breweries, architecture and local history, and even completely customized experiences based on what people want to see and do as they are carried through the neighborhood.
“I’m going after a certain kind of mindset” when hiring independent operators,” Ashmore says. “Neighborhood ambassadors, comedians, hospitality workers, historians and people who are passionate about the neighborhood. The challenge is in finding this very solid group that can get what I want to do, and then take it in their own direction.”
But first and foremost is convincing the denizens of Logan Square to take a chance on letting someone else do the peddling at the end of the night. This is especially important considerating the questionable reputation of some pedi-cab operators near Wrigley and Lincoln Park.
“The rate has to be up front and [customers] have to know that safety has been taken care of, and service have to be a focus, but they’ve all heard of (other operators) taking advantage, changing the rates,” Ashmore adds. “[With RoadieCab] there can be no bait-and-switch and this has to be geared toward our neighborhood, and we have to keep prices affordable—because it will only work if the community buys in.”
Interested in biking through the neighborhood to make a living? Ashmore currently is recruiting operators for the 2013 season. Learn more.