If all goes according to plan, you may soon notice that a pedicab has joined the ranks of Somerville’s bike-riding contingent. The pedicab in question belongs to Max Jackson, who pedicabbed for a couple of years in Boston. He also worked at the Boston Globe as a Web developer until he recently decided to say good-bye to his desk job and hit the streets as Rogue Pedicab.
Jackson’s business got its name when he was seen by a former pedicab employer riding through Boston in a pedicab of his own and was turned into his boss at the time for running an “unlicensed rogue pedicab operation.” Though that wasn’t the whole story, the name stuck and Jackson decided to use it for his new business.
Jackson is a Somerville native who attended Somerville High School, where he took computer coding classes. This sparked an interest in the subject, which later allowed him to have a career in the industry. Despite his success there, pedicabbing is where his heart truly lies.
“I’m focused on what I’m passionate about,” Jackson said, adding that starting his own pedicab business is a “dream come true.”
But Jackson said that he and many other pedicab drivers want to have their own independent pedicab businesses, something that’s difficult with Boston’s tight licensing regulations. He hopes to join a pilot program in Cambridge with his new operation and someday bring it to Somerville.
“I have the community in mind here,” Jackson said. “I really want to bring a casual transportation system [to Cambridge and Somerville].”
In the meantime, Jackson has been delivering Christmas trees in the area with his pedicab and cargo trailer attachment. He purchased four trees to drive around town and sell, which led to the remaining one being fought over by several people from the same apartment building. Jackson saved the day when he brought those who didn’t get the tree to Ricky’s in Union Square to buy one.
Rogue Pedicab currently operates under a loose pricing system, with Jackson basically taking tips from people for rides. And Jackson said that Cambridge and Somerville are the perfect places to launch his new pedicab business because they’re so accessibly and bike-friendly.
“The cities are behind pedal-powered transportation,” Jackson said, noting that Hubway expanded across the Charles River this year and that new bike lanes have been springing up all over town. Of his hometown, Jackson said, “It’s a paradise of quirky nerds.”
Indeed Rogue Pedicab is linking itself closely with the community, joining forces with the Somerville Sleigh Ride to raise money to buy holiday presents for homeless children in Somerville. The group raised more than $1,000, twice the original goal, and meets tonight at 6 p.m. in Union Square for the ride. You can find out all the details here.
“So many people can get behind it,” Jackson said of the bike ride, which will employ his pedicab and cargo trailer to haul the gifts. “It’s to give to charity, it should happen this time of year.”
All images courtesy of yorgosphoto.com.