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Pedal power

Madison Trolley adds pedicab
to its fleet of transportation

The two-seater will begin operating in May

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

(May 2008) – A new form of transportation is coming to Madison, Ind.: the pedicab.
The owners of Madison Trolley have purchased a pedicab that will begin operating May 1 when the steamboat the Delta Queen visits the town.

Rick Lostutter

Photo provided

Rick Lostutter and his daughters,
(from left) Claire and Emma, show off
the new pedicab that will begin
operating in Madison in May.

Before the pedicab starts accepting passengers, there is still much to be done. The pedicab itself will receive a design job similar to the trolleys, with pinstripes and logos. Some of the decorations will be reflective for safety during evening rides. Rick and Ann Lostutter, two of the owners of Madison Trolley, are also doing their part to prepare.
“We’ve been riding it around for the past weeks getting ‘in shape’ for the climbs up to Main Street from the river,” Rick Lostutter said.
For now, Lostutter will be the sole guide for the pedicab due to insurance costs.
Lostutter, a cyclist for 22 years, first had the idea for bringing a pedicab service into Madison when Madison Trolley kept receiving requests for couples’ tours during the week.
“The cost of gasoline has made it prohibitive for us to pull the large trolleys out for a couple of passengers,” he said.
Lostutter decided to try a smaller form of transportation to suit the needs of fewer passengers.
“Pedicabs came over from Indonesia and the Philippines in the 1950s,” Lostutter said.
He purchased a pedicab in Orlando from the family responsible for first bringing the pedicab to the United States.
The cost of the pedicab “was far less than a new trolley and slightly more than a good bicycle,” Lostutter said.
Unlike the traditional pedicabs where passengers sit up front and the guide pedals from the back, the pedicab that Lostutter bought has a 21-speed bicycle that hauls the customer behind it. This model is much more stable than the older, front-loading type. The pedicab also includes a bell, a microphone and speaker system so customers can hear the guide’s stories and a canopy for the comfort of the passengers. “The function is more for shade than rain,” Lostutter said.
The pedicab season is slated for May 1 through Oct. 31, similar to the trolley schedule. However, poor weather will affect the ability to use the pedicab.
Madison Trolley is currently designing several options for rides and tours. For an hour-long historical tour, it would cost one passenger $25 and two passengers $40. The company is also considering a trip up Telegraph Hill for $250 for anyone interested.
Other options include plans for shuttling shoppers and diners on Main Street during weekends for a one-time fee of $5, which will include being able to get on and off again.
The shopping shuttle will run down Main Street from St. Michael’s to Cragmont Street. Lostutter is also planning evening lantern tours through the downtown Madison area and along the Ohio River. Tours for anniversaries or birthdays could also be available and include a free gift. There will also be opportunities for wedding packages.
“Our hope is that the pedicab will offer a new option for something entertaining for residents and visitors to do in the beautiful historic district of downtown Madison,” Lostutter said. “It will also allow us to provide a more personal option for couples and individuals who are open to new experiences.”
At this point, Madison Trolley is going to experiment with the success of one pedicab. More will be purchased if interest is strong enough.
There are other perks for the new pedicab in addition to adding a different experience to town.
“Our country is now experiencing gas prices above the $3.50 mark,” Lostutter said. “We are excited about offering a green transportation and entertainment alternative that runs on food, water and good, old-fashioned muscle power.”

• For more information, visit: www.madisontrolley.com.

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