Go UT! Austin’s Pedicabbers Are Behind You!

2010 January 7
Pedicabbers like pizza.  Who knew?

Pedicabbers like pizza. Who knew?

Welcome back! Erin and I spent some time visiting our families and eating lots of non-pizza, and we just got back in town on Tuesday. Homeslice had the nerve to be closed that day (as they are every Tuesday) and we got a little distracted by the 99 cent sandwiches at Which Wich yesterday, but today I ate my first pizza of 2010 in Slicey’s warm embrace.

Pedicabber and general adventurer Russell boldly asked via twitter if he could trade pedicab rides for pizza. Well, that part wasn’t terribly bold. But then, in his next tweet, he asked if he could have the blog after he beats me next year! Such verve, pluck and cojones. I figured I had to take him out to pizza to see what he was like (and to earn a free pedicab ride).

Russell is from Houston, and has been all over the world thanks to the Navy and western Alaska thanks to the fishing industry’s unbelievable thirst for oil.  He worked on a tanker tug that would top off fishing trawlers to the tune of 100,000 gallons of oil.  He made some sweet coin but had to be in freezing, skewed-gender-ratio’d western Alaska, so he eventually settled in Austin.  Now instead of tugging fuel tankers, he tugs drunks on his pedicab. It’s not quite as well-paying, but it does have its perks.  He gets to live in one place with friends nearby, and communicate frequently and predictably with said friends.

In my life I’ve vacillated between having too much money and not enough time and vice versa.  Russell seems to have found a nice balance right now.   When I asked him if he likes his domestic life, he said “I have a dog now.  I mean, how cool is that?”

He ordered pepperoni, sausage, onions, garlic and roasted red peppers.  I ordered the same but instead of the meat, fried eggplant and anchovies.  After a while, our waiter* came by and said that they had made it without the roasted reds, so they were making it again and we could take home the insufficient pie, which was boxed away in a corner until we were ready to leave.  Russell and I looked at each other and said that we’d be happy to eat the pie anyway, but he proclaimed that it was already in motion.  So that was really nice of them.  It’s one of those times I wonder if I get special treatment because ‘Sliceys are scared that I might blog their misdeeds or whether they’re just always as cool as they seem.  My money’s on the latter, but who knows.

On a related note, Terri (an owner) came by my chair and said it was nice to see me, she hadn’t seen me in a while.  Maybe Homeslice had an especially profitable couple of weeks that gave away my absence 😉

The pizza came out steaming hot, literally.  I’d never see so much steam from a pizza.  I excused Russell from the “beer on you” part of my mantra because it’s freezing in Austin today and cold beer didn’t sound good, but I encouraged him to grab the tip.  When the bill came ($0), he laid down a $20 bill for a tip.  No change needed.  I told him that it was a mighty generous tip.  He said that he doesn’t mind tipping great for great service, and he felt like he should leave the value of what he received.  The waiter* didn’t mind.  I hope the waitstaff don’t always expect $20 tips when I walk through the door.  Then again, maybe he makes up for others I’ve taken who have not been nearly generous enough.


Russell regaled me with stories from the Navy, Alaska and the pedicab world.  I was especially intrigued by the pedicab bits.

Erin and I used to live in India, and rickshaws were a horrible annoyance, right up there with mosquitoes and giardia.  People who made their living pedaling/motoring people around in three wheeled contraptions tried every avenue to cheat us.  It didn’t matter how much of the language we spoke or how long we’d been there, they would insist on some ridiculous price quintuple what the locals pay, and then bitch and moan if we wheedled them down to a reasonable rate, and by reasonable I mean 100-200% of the true cost.

Generally, the pedal-rickshaw wallahs were kinder than their motorized brethren.  Pedicabs are essentially pedal-rickshaws, so an insight into his world was fascinating.  It seems like it costs more to ride across downtown in a pedicab than in a taxi, but folks do it all the time.  Do they think it’s ironic/hip, or actually faster than a taxi?  Is it environmentally minded?  Probably not, my hunch is that pedicab patrons don’t have second thoughts about drinking imported beer/liquor rather than local options.  I don’t know why they do it, but I have to admit, it looks fun.  Maybe not on nights like tonight though.

Russell makes okay money most nights, but he banks whenever anything big is going on, like SXSW, ACL, Halloween, etc.  If UT wins tonight, he’ll do great.  So root for UT, Russell could use a big night.  And if you see him (he’s really tall), tip him well to reward him for his good tipping karma.  Hook ’em!  And tip ’em!

Cost: $25.25
Total this year: $79.50

* Sadly, I don’t know the names of everyone at Homeslice, even though most seem to know mine.  Sara(h?) called me out on this one time after I referred to her in the blog by her nickname many times over.  She’s totally right, I only know the names of about a dozen employees although I should know more.  You know those people you meet at a party and then see around town a whole bunch but you guiltily never remember their name even though they know yours?  And you’re too embarrassed to ask?  That’s me with 2/3 of the Homeslice staff.  My usual trick of introducing the person I’m with and awkwardly waiting for the unnamed person to break the silence with “and I’m so-and-so” doesn’t really work because they all know Erin by now.  So if any staff are reading this, feel free to oh-so-naturally drop your name into conversation next time we’re chatting and I’ll try reeeeeally hard to remember.  Tell Erin too, she’s smarter.  And I won’t blog anything that will get you in trouble (I think) unless you’re Mark and you deliberately mislead me with false info about HOES competitors in an all-too-successful attempt to freak me out.  Every time he pours a pitcher of beer on someone or snap-kicks a child will be duly noted.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 January 7

    You get to meet the coolest people! I’ve always wanted to take a pedi-cab but have never had the money or spontaneity to do it.

    And yay for big tippers!

  2. 2010 January 7
    Seth permalink

    Well, cool people seem to want free pizza. I’m glad I didn’t win free brussels sprouts for a year, that would significantly diminish the coolness of the people I meet.

  3. 2010 January 8

    Pizza Girl, feel free to get a hold of me @stretch_aye and we will work a deal out for a pedicab ride. I take payment in pizza, homemade cookies, and cold hard cash.

  4. 2010 January 19

    when have you had TOO much money in your life? LOL that’s a problem that is easily remedied. and i love brussels sprouts, i would totally eat a meal of them with you.

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