Portland Rocks the Rickshaws (and other assorted tales)

So – I’m skipping off the rest of the work day to get a massage with my ma and sister – and sitting inside Burgerville on Hawthorne and 12th, taking advantage of delicious food and free wi-fi.

And what to my wondering/wandering eyes should appear?

A 3 legged beast known to few (or many?) as the PDX Pedicab.

I couldn’t help but laughing out loud and simultaneously wanting the man to pose for a photo-op (damn me, I left my camera at home).

Dan has long plotted the fate of all the homeless here in Portland ending up as rickshaw drivers for the rich. I know – it’s one of his most compassionate sentiments (love ya).

This a similar vision, except no doubt powered by the stringy muscles of the latest influx of hipsters into the Pearl or Hawthorne districts.

In this bike centric section of town, it’s hardly an unusual sight to see someone using their own physical strength to power their mode of transportation. I’ve counted about 30 bikes cruising by in my 30 minutes of sitting here, soaking up the delicious smell of fried food and 1950s atmosphere that only Burgerville can provide.

I wanted to link to their site, but it’s down. 😦

With gas prices on the rise – one wonders if this isn’t the way of the future, or just some quirky hip Portland thing that will remain in the funky areas of the city like Pearl and Hawthorne.

I certainly hope not – that would be a shame.

Also of note – when doing the orientation this morning at the Albina Press cafe – I parked my car in front of a blue Prius. When I went out later to retrieve something from the car – there were three Priuses in a row, parked next to a trendy cafe in NoPo.

I cursed the fates that I did not have my camera (twice today) – because it was unquestioningly a very Portland scene. I’m hoping someone was able to revel in the yipster vibe, which looked something like the above (only with slightly less palm trees).


ALSO WORTH NOTING: While surveying the menu at the cafe (I ultimately chose to leave because they had no FOOD) a dude walked up to me and started taking off his belt.

Alright, I decided, I can hang.

Dude: Let’s say you were making coffee, and someone came up to you and offered you a belt in trade. What would you do?

Me: Depends on the belt, I guess.

He holds the belt up in his hands.

Dude: It’s this beauty right here. Geniune leather or suede. From uh…

He turns the belt over and sees a label.

Dude: From Nordstrom’s – that’s pretty high end, right?

Me: Sure, sure is.

Dude: You see – I stopped using money awhile ago – but I have this belt here to trade. What do you think?

Me: Go ahead, can’t hurt.

Dude: This is the first time I’ve ever done this. You think a latte would be pushing it?

Me: Probably.

He holds the belt out – towards me.

Dude: Maybe you want to trade it instead?

Me: No thanks – I’m getting some food. That’s a lot to trade for.

Dude: Right. right. You ever had their lattes here man?

Me: No – I don’t actually drink caffeine.

Dude: That’s cool. They make it so good here. Everything’s so good. What’s your name?

Me: Mindy.

We shake hands.

Dude: Ezra.

Me: It’s nice to meet you Ezra.

Dude: You too.

Man at Counter: Can I help you?

I watch Ezra tottle up to the register and offer his wares.

Totally irritated by the entire scene and exchange, I leave in search of free wi-fi and actual food. Sadly, I have no idea if they took the belt in trade for coffee or not.

What do you think?

Much Love, Mindy C


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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

2 responses to “Portland Rocks the Rickshaws (and other assorted tales)”

  1. Michael says :

    I think I’m surprised that you were annoyed at the scene, but even more surprised that you didn’t stick around to see if they took the belt. πŸ™‚

    Actually, what I wanted to comment on this blog for was the cool rickshaw-ness. We have those here in ABQ! But they’re only downtown, seemingly only at night, and they only offer their services for free to (seemingly?) drunken patrons who need a ride (back to their cars?) I’ve never taken advantage of the rickshaws, but I think it’s totally a cool idea, and I’d love to be in charge of a business that charged for those rides, as opposed to gave them out for free. Seems like you could make a pretty penny. (But not if everyone else was giving them out for free… Damn socialists. ;))

  2. tinyheroes says :

    I think I was the most annoyed at the idea of someone actually saying, “I’ve given up on using money.”

    Leave it to some Portland hippie to try and bring back the barter system.

    And yes – big thumbs up to the rickshaw idea. I do believe they charge a “whatever you can pay” fee for the service. And most drunk people are more than happy to part with their money.

    I can definitely see this idea taking off if gas prices get any higher. There could be a “Pedi-Cab” service in every major neighborhood, carting folks and their groceries to and fro.

    Dan was commenting on the socio-economic issues around Rickshaws (the poor carting around the rich), but I reminded him that is was mostly young, mostly male, and mostly white folks doing the pedaling.

    For the moment.

    Much Love, Mindy C

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