Albany Rickshaw

Ricshaw.jpg

Yes, that's a rickshaw at the corner of State and Lark.

Check out what we found while we were having dinner on Lark Street the other night! (Unfortunately all we had handy was the camera phone, but you get the idea.) Yep, there's a new way to travel in Albany. A very, very old new way to travel.

Right now Albany Rickshaw is a one man company, and that one man is in pretty good shape. Loren Grugan is an Albany police officer, but in his off-hours he'll pull you around the city in his new rickshaw. Loren doesn't stay still for very long, but he put the breaks on to talk with AOA.

So how did you come up with this rickshaw thing?
I took a ride in one a few years ago in Phoenix and I thought it was great. Of course the land is pretty flat there. Then I went to a Yankee game and did it again. At Christmas I was in New York City for my birthday and a took a third ride. That's when I said "I gotta do this!" I retire from the police force in a few years and I want to buy a few more and rent them out like cabs.

New York is a pretty big city. Do you think there's enough rickshaw business in Albany?
I think Albany is a great city for this. I've been riding for two weeks now and it's been pretty busy. I did about 25 rides last Friday night. That worked out to about four people an hour. Gas prices definitely play into this. Twice so far I've taken people from their houses on State Street to the grocery store and back.

What does a ride cost?
I'm still working out the prices. Usually I charge people around $3 for a ride down Lark Street. For two people it's usually $5.

Do you charge more for extra weight?
Ha! I don't charge per pound. That would be insulting. If I make it reasonable then people usually tip me pretty well. You can advertise on the back. That's where I think most of the money will come from, but we'll see. There's a class I'm going to take to learn the business aspect of it. I would have gone already but my wife and I just had a baby.

What does it cost to keep a rickshaw on the road?
The bike was about 5 thousand dollars. It's the top of the line model. It's got Shimano gears and an extra wide seat. I'm fully insured which costs about 12 hundred a year.

What has been the toughest ride so far?
I took someone from the corner of Lark and Madison down to The Governor's Mansion.
That was tough.

Would you ever attempt to haul someone up State Street hill?
Not yet. Right now I can take them down the hill, but not back up. I'm looking into getting an electric assist. Then we'll see.

You must have to be in amazing shape to do this.
I rode the mountain bike for Albany P.D. for 8 years, so I'm used to it. I started running again to train for this. Hopefully I'll get my endurance back up.

How can people catch a ride?
If the weather is nice I'm usually in the Lark Street/Washington Park area from around 6pm Thursday through Sunday and when there are events in the park.

Comments

Very interesting! I've always wondered what goes on inside the mind of people who drive rickshaws.

This is a great thing for Albany's nightlife and special events! I believe many people will take part in this new exciting business that Loren has established!


-M

I love this! I was just in Portland and it's a hit w/ the tipsy people leaving bars late at night, and since he's a cop he'll may have some very wise words for those he is dropping of at their cars.

Albany Rickshaw had its ribbon-cutting yesterday. Haven’t had a ride yet, but as a Washington Park neighborhood resident, it seems like it would be fun for locals and non-locals alike.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

The week ahead

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (thawing), to film, to... (more)

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + Nicole returned with another Open House, this time talking with a Cohoes native... (more)

39th Annual Photography Regional Select Show

We got a chance this week to stop in at the 39th Annual Photography Regional Select Show at the Albany Center Gallery. It displays works... (more)

The Capital Region is growing very slowly -- which is better than many other parts of the state

The population of the Albany metro area was up slightly in 2016 compared to the year before, according to new Census Bureau estimates out this... (more)

Updates: 3Fish Coffee, 288 Lark Street

Quick updates on a couple of Lark Street-area storefronts... 3Fish Coffee The new cafe next to the Downtube on Madison Ave across from Washington Park... (more)

Recent Comments

I was very negative about the road diet when it was announced but I really love it and am excited to see it continue all the way to Lark. I eat my words!

Updates: 3Fish Coffee, 288 Lark Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Chris Miles

The Capital Region is growing very slowly -- which is better than many other parts of the state

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jamie

The ghost of Eva Tanguay

...has 19 comments, most recently from PianoPlayerMalcolm

Drawing: Tickets for John Mayer at TU Center + a gift card for Ama Cocina

...has 105 comments, most recently from Steve G

Central Warehouse

...has 59 comments, most recently from Bobbi