Make Way for Pedal Cabs: Green Rides Coming to Lake George
By Anthony F. Hall
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Increasingly common from Vancouver to Manhattan, pedal cabs are making their way to Lake George.
Two area teachers, Steve Tomb and Mike Smith, have launched the Adirondack Pedal Cab Company, which will manage a fleet of 22 pedal cabs, also known as rickshaws, bicycle taxis, and pedicabs, in Lake George and North Creek.
Tomb and Smith hope to have the cabs on the streets of the two communities by Memorial Day.
If all goes according to plan, they told the Lake George Chamber of Commerce in March, the company will expand into Bolton Landing and Lake Placid.
“The timing is right,” Tomb and Smith told the Lake George Chamber. “These three-wheeled vehicles are changing the face of transportation and provide an exciting opportunity for customers and tourist communities.”
According to Tomb, who teaches English at Johnsburg High School, the idea of introducing pedal cabs to resort communities came to him while traveling in India on a Fulbright fellowship.
“I saw all these rickshaws and I thought we should have something similar in the Adirondacks: the cabs are emission-free, they engage you in the community you’re visiting, and it’s the type of small business that communities support,” said Tomb.
Tomb said that he, Smith and their partner, Ken Murray, are in the process of securing whatever permits may be needed to operate a livery in Lake George Village.
The business will be supported in part by solar-powered electronic ads mounted on the rear of the cab.
“Our orientation is hyper-local; we want to support local businesses,” said Tomb. “We’ve already been approached by a national brand, and we turned them down.”
Drivers, who must be at least 18, possess a drivers’ license and able to pass a background check and survive rigorous training sessions, will lease the cabs in four-hour shifts and work for tips. No set rate, no minimum fee, will be charged for any ride.
Tomb expects to recruit college students and vacationing teachers as Adirondack Pedal Company drivers.
“The tipping model works for the drivers,” said Tomb. “Personality will be the key. The ride should be a Lake George experience, not just a convenient way to get from one place to another. The driver will function as a guide. He or she will have to know Lake George, the businesses, the places of interest, the stories. The best driver will be someone who not only knows Lake George, but loves it.”
Tomb said he and his partners began coming to Lake George when they were growing up in Saratoga County.
A graduate of LeMoyne College and SUNY Cortland, Tomb and his wife Suzanne (who’s a social worker at Hudson Headwaters Health Network) moved to North Creek to be near her family.
Prior to settling in North Creek, Tomb said he “traveled a lot, teaching Outward Bound programs, guiding, teaching people to be guides, developing curriculum for Adventure Sports programs.”
The Tombs have three sons, triplets, who will be twelve years old in April.
“They’re amazing. One of them designed the logo for the company. They have their own egg business; they have 40 hens and have local businesses as customers, including Bar Vino. I’ve tried to instill in them the entrepreneurial spirit – that’s what’s uniquely American, as I discovered in my travels. It’s what’s driving us to make our Adirondack Pedal Cab Company a success.”
For more information, visit adirondackpedalcab.com