Bikes Energy & Sustainability Fun & Games
My DIY Pedicab Saga: Just The Data

(My pedicab, pre-foam-addition.)

Thanks to everybody who commented on my first post in this series: I’ve got great feedback, including a hilarious put-down from another local pedicabber (“Luke, Death Cab for Cutie called. They want a photo for the next album cover.”)

And, appropriately, there’s been a call for data. So here’s what I’ve got:

To address some safety issues raised, it’s useful to look at the style of pedicab in use by many other Austin pedicabbers: also no brakes, and attachment to the bike by a single bolt. There are even 20+ home-brews of this style on the Texas capitol’s streets. And, to be fair, I would estimate half of the licensed pedicabs are the far-fancier (and more expensive) 3-wheeled versions (one company making these, and another.) And good luck finding any materials analysis, even to the low level I’ve provided, from any pedicab manufacturer. It may exist, but the city certainly hasn’t sought it until I came up.

So, if I may conclude this post by being overly general:

  • One ought to judge product quality not on the presence of a fancy marketing apparatus, but rather on the quantitative properties of a product.
  • DIYers much smarter than I are developing important products, and early versions won’t always look pretty.
  • Both consumers and makers miss out by labeling anything factory-made as safe and anything home-brewed as sketchy.

As always, any comments appreciated. Including put-downs about my pedicab, so long as they’re at least as funny as the Death Cab for Cutie one:)

Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (, stop killing your garden (, and live in an off-grid shipping container (

View more articles by Luke Iseman