City Market, December 1994
The Pedicab: A Fixture on Asian Streets, now Popular in the United Sates and an Institution in Savannah!
The pedicab is believed to have evolved from the 1871 invention of a human powered vehicle by a Baptist missionary, Johnathon Goble, in Yokohama, Japan. Rev. Goble’s innovation was called the “jinrikisha or “man powered car.” Jinrikisha was transformed through usage into the more familiar term “rickshaw.” Illustrations show a similar conveyance in 17th Century France but it never became popular. In Japan, by 1900, however, there were as many as 200,000 rickshaws in operation.
Originally, the rickshaw was simply pulled along like a cart But by the 1920s in Singapore the rickshaw had merged with the bicycle to create what we now know variously as a pedicab, velotaxi cyclo, becak or trishaw. These compact, maneuverable vehicles were ideally suited to traffic-packed urban streets and World War II with its fuel shortages made the human-powered conveyances even more popular.
First Generation Pedicabs are often referred to as the “true Asian taxi.” They are a simple design and easy to build, often constructed out of salvaged bicycle parts. These designs were often ill-suited to the heavy workload of the pedicab and sturdier, purpose built vehicles were soon created. As the fourth oldest Pedicab company in the US, Savannah Pedicab bought some of the first, modern pedicabs and keeps a diverse fleet with expert upgrades for each design to keep the fleet operational on Savannah's cobblestone streets. As an experienced metalworker & a master pedicab mechanic, the owner has developed many proven methods to keep Savannah Pedicabs operating with one of the best safety records in the industry.