Before You Grow Up: Be a Pedicab Driver

There are only a few carefree summers in your life. Don’t waste them interning at law firms—opt for one of these adventure-packed seasonal gigs instead.

New York, June 2007 - Dan, pedicab driver, at the exit of the depot >< New York, Giugno 2007 - Dan, driver di pedicab all'uscita del deposito (Photo: Alessandro Cosmelli)
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Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

Hauling tourists around the historic quarters of a scenic city on a clunky tricycle may not sound (or look) too glamorous. But you make your own hours, you exercise on the job, and there’s no better way to get to know a new town. Plus, you often end up driving bachelorette-party chariot races. There is one significant occupational hazard, though: pedicab drivers may get mugged. “You’re riding home with a fat wad of cash at 2 A.M.,” says Aaron Bible, who pedaled a cab in Savannah, Georgia, during grad school.

Prereqs: Endurance or insomnia. The most lucrative hours are from 4 P.M. until the bars close. Most companies require you to be 18.

How to Break In: Find a local pedicab company, and verify that it’s licensed and insured. Bike-friendly places with a thriving bar scene, like Austin, Texas, are getting crowded, so look to other college towns. Worried about pulling all that weight? Don’t be. “Fat tourists would think we were working incredibly hard to pull their lazy asses around town, standing on the pedals with plenty of groaning and grunting,” says Bible. “But it’s actually pretty easy if you start on a slight downhill or even a curb ramp.”

Pay: Up to $500 a night. Some companies rent you the trike for $35, and some take a cut. Either way, it’s all about the tips—the more fun you are, the more you get paid. “I call it transportainment,” says Ryan Hashagen, owner of Oregon’s Portland Pedicabs.

Romance Potential: Did we mention the bachelorette parties?

Résumé Skills: Entrepreneurialism, designing and executing a business plan.

Lead Photo: Alessandro Cosmelli