Riding a rickshaw

We took our first pedicab ride in Chicago, Illinois.

Obviously, we’d seen rickshaws in Asia, but being keen walkers, we had never been tempted to use what we considered to be mainly a novelty.

However, in Chicago, it was a matter of exhaustion.

We’d walked several miles from the Hilton Chicago on South Michigan Avenue through the city centre and on to Lincoln Park Zoo.

pedicabs_for_sale_in_chicago
A typical pedicab

Getting there was fine, but the return journey late in the afternoon proved a hard slog and by the time we reached The Loop – as Chicago calls its CBD – our feet were aching.

Near Chicago’s Millennium Park, several pedicabs passed by – and, on impulse, we hailed a rider and asked about prices.

After some quick haggling, we settled on about $US8 and climbed aboard the pedicab for the six or seven city blocks to the hotel.

Although the ride wasn’t fast, it was exhilarating and lots of fun.

Our pedicab was designed for two people and even included seatbelts. However, we didn’t feel in any danger as the rider stuck close to the edge of the busy road and cars gave us plenty of room.

The only time our pedicab had to sound its bell, was to alert cyclists and other rickshaws of our approach.

Rickshaws are used in many US cities, mainly for their novelty value as an entertaining form of transportation for tourists and locals.

According to our Chicago rider, the first known commercial use of pedicabs in North America occurred in 1962 at the Seattle World’s Fair.

Why not. They are heaps of fun.

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