By Andrea Arnold

Al Frederick and Rick Thompson shuttle passengers during Pioneer Days. /ANDREA ARNOLD

Over the winter, Rick Thompson and Allan Frederick developed a new service performed by The McBride Pedicab Company that they hope will positively impact the community. They are now offering free half hour rides for seniors.
“Seniors can experience a feeling of isolation and depression because they don’t get out as much as they used to,” said Thompson. “Many also remember when getting around by bike was the only option for them.”

The pair hopes that older individuals take the opportunity to get out of the house and explore the community as they are pulled through the streets. Routes include a tour down to Horseshoe Lake, to run an errands, or to give the experience of feeling the sunshine on their faces. “We provide the opportunity for these important pioneers of our community to enjoy the wind in their hair and the smiles on people’s faces and the waves as we zip along showing them all parts of McBride,” continued Thompson. “It is great to see the smiles on their faces during our tours.”

This service is being offered through the donations from locals. The McBride Oldtimers Hockey Association gifted the pair a generous amount to be used to cover the service costs as well as 50% of all advertising for this new program.

Caregivers may join the seniors for the ride. As the drivers and tour guides, Thompson and Frederick take ownership of all aspects of the business and will personally aid those individuals who may have difficulty climbing aboard one of the cabs.

Robson Valley health services administrator for Northern Health Keltie Barlow, is appreciative of the new program.
“Recreation opportunities for residents in long-term care, and local seniors in general, are very important for quality of life,” she said. “Being able to get outside for a relaxing ride around town is something both seniors and their caregivers can enjoy, and I know that the recent opportunity offered up by McBride pedicabs was appreciated.”

Frederick and Thompson say several seniors have called on their services already. One gentleman recently ran his errands in a pedicab. He and his dog sat happily in the seat as the cab manoeuvred through town.

The whole pedicab concept is still new to the valley. Last spring after doing a lot of research, local entrepreneur, Thompson learned what he needed to do in order to purchase, ship and run a pedicab. (Bikes attached to trailers used for the transportation of people or goods.) Thompson presented the idea to Frederick who joined in the venture.

“It took us about six months to go through the process of researching where to get the units – looked at Victoria, various US locations, India and China,” said Thompson. “After choosing the model, we acquired our import licence and ordered the Pedicabs. These were shipped to Vancouver and we picked them up from there in late August 2018.

We spent much of September/October just introducing the Pedicabs to the community.”

As the ability to pedal is directly affected by the weather, the bikes had to be parked for the winter, so the pair has been eager to get back out on the streets, reminding people there is another option for getting around town.

Initially, the goal was bring something into town that was new and exciting. They developed a number of tours that tie the main business core with lesser known attractions like the painted fire hydrants, murals and historic buildings as well as some foodie features.

“One of our ‘tours’ is Groceries on the Go,” said Thompson. “Walk to the grocery store and we will pick you and your groceries up and take you home. Saves on gas and it’s fun too. We also highlight our great Chinese restaurant, Killin.

What a great way to get your delivery – by rickshaw.”

As the days get nicer and tourist traffic picks up, Thompson expects the cabs will be busy. They have already had a good response since getting back on the road earlier this spring.