Imagine getting off the SMART train in downtown Petaluma and hopping in a bicycle taxi that takes you to a restaurant or perhaps a tour of the historic homes.
You don’t have to worry about walking everywhere or if arriving downtown by car, looking for an increasingly hard to find parking spot.
That’s the vision behind the new pedicab service recently rolled out in downtown Petaluma. The idea is the brainchild of Alan Allen, a laid off construction worker who earlier this year launched Community Bikes Petaluma, a group that refurbishes old bicycles and donates them to needy families.
Now the 44-year-old Allen is going a step further and providing a service he says will help reduce congestion downtown and connect visitors and locals to various points of interest without relying on a car.
“Petaluma is an ideal place to do it and it’s a great way to sell our town,” says Allen, who spent 27 years working in construction before finding himself out of work this winter. “Our goal is for this to grow and eventually hire more people and not give so much money to the oil companies.”
Allen is collaborating with girlfriend Melita Cedraholm and Petaluma residents Ryan Williams and Jason Davies, who are funding the green venture. The entrepreneurs foresee the company eventually expanding to include numerous bicycles that ferry people to cafes and restaurants or take them on specially-tailored trips to local art galleries, antique shops or romantic picnics on McNear Peninsula.
In starting a pedicab service, Petaluma joins a growing number of U.S. cities promoting bicycles as a way reduce traffic and provide an alternative means of transportation. Today, pedicabs can be found in Sonoma, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Diego and many other cities around the country where they are occasionally touted as "taxis without the attitude."
Want to ride the Community Bikes pedicab? Call or text 707-933-7664 between 7am to 10pm. Cost is donation-based and pick-ups at home can be arranged. For more information, check out www.petalumapedalcab.com