MANCHESTER, NH – You’ll never forget your first pedicab ride. I know this because last weekend I experienced the Queen City by way of Mike Cashion’s start-up business, Peddl_MHT, which offers city dwellers an alternative way to get from here to there [see video below.]
For Cashion, it’s one of those fortunate times in life when inspiration meets opportunity.
That’s because Cashion also has the distinction of being one of the first to capitalize on an offer by business power couple Jeremy and Liz Hitchcock, who a few weeks ago put out a call for anyone with a #CrazyMHTidea to contact them – they’re looking for a few innovative endeavors their Hitchcock Management company can get behind.
The timing was perfect for Cashion, who had just recently finished mapping out a plan to turn his passion for bicycling into something more lucrative.
While his idea fit the bill, turns out Peddl is not so crazy – when you consider how bicycle-friendly Manchester has become in the past few years. There are more bicycle lanes built into the city’s master plan, and an active local advocacy organization BikeMHT, which organizes group rides as it aims to up the city’s bike game. Also, new bike racks are popping up all over, and a successful first season of a bike share program with strategic stations planted around the city.
Cashion says his big idea took shape following a conversation with a friend while they dined at Republic. Two weeks later, he was ready to roll out a business plan – around the same time the Hitchcocks’ invitation for people with innovative ideas went out.
“I just love cycling. In fact, I 100-percent hate having a car,” says Cashion, who is a dedicated bicycle commuter. He’s determined to grow his business beyond his solo pedicab – which, for the record, is pretty tricked-out. It includes bench seat storage, directional signals, old-school bike bell, hydraulic brakes and a sweet sound system that allows passengers to select their favorite playlist or genre for the journey.
“It’s a blast,” Cashion says of the customizable rider soundtrack, “that’s a big part of the experience.”
Otherwise, Peddl by design is a relatively low-tech endeavor. While you can go to their website, peddlemht.com to schedule a ride, there isn’t an app for that – at least, not yet.
Cashion’s been trying out the service with friends and family, but the first official ride is scheduled for Sept. 21 with Mayor Joyce Craig, as part of Peddl’s official launch, scheduled at City Hall around 1:30 p.m. He’s gotten all the preliminary approvals and necessary insurance to operate in the city. Now, he needs customers.
If you’re ready to roll, whether you need to get from one end of Elm Street to the other for a coffee, a business meeting, lunch take-out, or to retrieve your parked car, the simplest way to arrange a ride is to call Cashion at 603-489-6061. Otherwise, you can flag him down if you see him rolling with an empty passenger seat. You can also look for him at what is currently home base, outside The Bookery, at 848 Elm St.
He says he’s also looking for businesses who’d like to pimp his ride with advertising wraps.
His schedule is weather permitting, but Cashion plans to be making the rounds regularly every Thursday and Friday, from 5 – 11 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
The short-term plan is to hopefully add to his fleet next year. “We’ll see what the future holds,” Cashion says.
For instance, it may be necessary to electrify his pedicab at some point. Although he’s in great cycling shape, Cashion hasn’t taken for granted the amount of manpower required to make his pedicab go.
“I’m getting comfortable with the inclines,” he says, and he also seems to enjoy the “wee-factor” of the city’s downhill roads just as much as the passengers.
His pedicab is designed to haul up to 500 pounds or so – three can fit comfortably in various configurations of adults and children. Generally speaking, he’s prepared to loop around the downtown between the SNHU Arena, Northeast Delta Dental stadium, the Millyard, the intersection of Bridge and Elm streets, and Pine Street, near the Flats at Hanover Street, although his route is not fixed. Cost, for now, is based on tips – $1 per block is a suggested rate, for those who can’t find “pedicab” in your tip calculator.
Coming soon, you can expect to find Peddl pedicab stops popping up to signal where you can stand and wait for a ride.
“We’re still figuring it all out,” says Cashion. “Right now we’re in the trial and error stage, but we’re open to ideas,” which you can text to him at 603-489-6061 using the hashtag #peddlpower.
Below: Scenes from my Peddl-cab ride with my new friend, Mark Frechette, as we had a grand tour of Manchester on Sept. 15. Video via ManchesterInkLink Facebook Live.