Taking its cues from Asian rickshaws, the pedicabs in New York have a much different history. Originally started as a novelty for tourists, they are now seen as an alternative to a taxi when you need to get around the city easily. With dozens of different styles, a wide range of uses, and their eco-friendly benefits, many large cities around the USA have seen a booming rise in the number of pedicabs in their midst.
The History of a Rickshaw
Rickshaws were said to have originated in Japan in the 1880’s. These vehicles were two-wheeled and featured a double pole area in the front for a driver to stand. Similar to a horse carriage, rickshaws were human powered and required no livestock to get them from one area to another. The large wheels made pulling a carriage with people much easier, even up small hills and across rough terrain. In the late 19th century, rickshaws were popular across Asia. They were commonly pulled by peasants who migrated from the rural farmlands in an attempt to find more wealth. These drivers were commonly looked down upon in this time. By the 20th century, rickshaws had received a makeover to include a bicycle frame for propulsion instead of the double-pole pulled by a human, and they had spread to Africa, as well as numerous other areas in Asia. By 1962, they had made their way to North America and were called the pedicab or cycle-rickshaw.
Styles and Uses
In large cities, it’s not uncommon to see dozens or even hundreds of these vehicles on the streets. New York pedicab tours are extremely popular for both tourists and locals looking for a new way to get around. There are a large range of different styles, colors and sizes you can find, each one unique to the company that uses it. While some are simple and small, others can be elaborate with full enclosed riding areas, lights, bells and decorative accents. Some have sun and rain protection, while others leave you exposed to all elements but provide much better options for photos. The vehicles are usually small and have room for two or three adults, but this also provides couples a more romantic jaunt through Central Park without worry of a horse bolting or becoming spooked, for example. No matter who you plan on taking you New York pedicab tours with, you can rest assured knowing the memories will stay with you forever!
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