Pedicabs hit the street in Breck
BRECKENRIDGE – Pedestrians no longer will have to walk the nine long blocks from the south end of Breckenridge to the north now that Nick Farkouh’s pedicabs have hit the street.
The Breckenridge man proposed the concept to the town council last winter, saying the oversized tricycles that haul people around could animate Main Street and provide a clean, fun way to get around town.
“Most people do a double-take and kind of scratch their heads,” Farkouh said in December. “But it’s a functional means of getting people around. I’d love to see Breckenridge embrace the idea.”
Locals have. Visitors, however, haven’t quite gotten a grasp of it, Farkouh said. Half the fun of driving or riding in a pedicab is the social relationship between the driver and passenger, and some visitors have trouble letting down their guard.
“They give us strange looks,” Farkouh said. “But the people who do get in the cabs loved it.”
The cabs are like oversized tricycles, equipped with turn signals and squeak toys for horns. Winter gear includes ski racks, heated seats, blankets and studded tires. The gears were made so a fit cyclist can haul the 160-pound cabs and an additional 400 pounds of passengers with relative ease.
“You don’t have to be a hard-core bicyclist,” Farkouh said. “It’s the guys who are sociable and friendly who will do well.”
Farkouh, who got the idea of starting a pedicab business when he saw them zipping around downtown San Diego, hopes to form a partnership with Paul Darrah of Buena Vista.
Darrah was drawn to the idea because of his job as a painting contractor. Darrah said the tools of his trade – primarily the paint – pollute the environment, and he wanted to do something to alleviate the guilt he gets from that.
“I am so part of the (environmental) problem,” he said. Every day I go to work, I’m killing myself, killing the Earth. I’ve spent years trying to find a different job.”
A National Geographic photo of a Japanese rickshaw driver first stuck in his mind; pedicabs at a factory outlet store in Las Vegas provided the impetus.
“It wasn’t until then that I put two and two together,” Darrah said. “I stopped shopping; I had to chase the guy down.”
He approached Breckenridge town planner Chris Neubecker about the idea, and was told Farkouh already was in the process of establishing a pedicab business. As it happened, the two men knew each other from their participation as hutmasters with Summit Huts Association.
“We had the same kind of emotion for the industry,” Darrah said. “We have the same plans and visions.”
The pedicabs, which are pedaled by drivers who lease the cabs from Farkouh, are allowed to drive the streets of Breckenridge, abiding by traffic laws specific to vehicles. Merchants, including Eric Mamula of Downstairs at Eric’s and officials at Main Street Station, have granted permission to pedicab drivers allowing them to use their property as pedicab stops. The drivers also will cruise the main streets downtown and the streets near resorts and hotels. They’d eventually like to get permission to have stands at such places as Beaver Run, River Mountain Lodge, the Village at Breckenridge and Great Divide Lodge.
They hope to expand to include conferences at the hotels, special events, weddings, historic tours, town orientations and “menu tours,” whereby drivers take passengers around to various restaurants where they can see the menus and decide where they want to eat. He thinks Breckenridge could support about 15 cabs, and drivers will do best when the streets are filled with people.
“This is very much driven by the crowds,” Farkouh said. “It depends on having bustling crowds in the downtown core.”
Drivers say they enjoy the social aspects and the exercise.
“Out here, you’re under your own terms,” Darrah said. “You get out of it what you put into it.”
Pedicab drivers must hold a valid driver’s license, Farkouh said, because they must know the rules of the road. Cabs are leased to the driver, who keeps the tips given to them by passengers.
“We’re taking baby steps,” Farkouh said. “But these things aren’t new. They’re in Santa Barbara, San Diego; they’re everywhere. Now they’re in Breckenridge.”
Those interested in driving pedicabs can call Farkouh at (970) 453-1892.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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