Pedal Power

Late-night revelers will agree: Hailing a taxi in Pittsburgh is a next-to-impossible task. Finally, an alternative: Green Gears Pedicabs offer eco-friendly, three-wheeled, human-powered transportation through the South Side, North Side and downtown.

This St. Patrick’s Day, cyclists in bicycle rickshaws glided up and down East Carson Street, toting bar-hopping partyers dressed in green. The “pedicabs” were emblazoned with a logo for Green Gears Pedicabs, a brand-new, zero-emissions transport service operated year-round by friendly—often eccentric—bicyclists.

Such cabbies are a staple in Manhattan and Bangladesh, but Pittsburgh’s hilly terrain and erratic weather once made the idea unthinkable. That is, until Paul Kletter, 28, came along. Kletter has worked for years in the promotions business for companies such as NASCAR and National Geographic. When his investments in the stock market started falling, Kletter and his girlfriend, Mary Beth Karabino, decided to try something new. “We want to help the infrastructure of Pittsburgh,” Kletter explains, by hiring eager young bikers and selling affordable advertisements on the pedicabs’ frames.

As far as Pittsburgh’s hills and weather? Kletter purchased the best 24-gear bikes on the market, and the seating has enclosure pieces to protect passengers from rain and snow. For drivers who have circled the block 20 times trying to find a parking spot (or tried, in vain, to hail a cab), the pedicabs are a solution that’s been a long time coming. After all, three wheels are better than none.

Green Gears runs through South Side, North Side and downtown. Available for the morning commute and at night until approximately 3:30 a.m. Bikers are independent contractors, so prices vary; average is $1 per minute. (Info: 412/343-7334, greengearspedicabs.com)