Marlin Coast PedicabsPedicab Fun

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Marlin Coast Pedicabs was first unleashed on the unsuspecting populace of the then, still country town of Cairns on August 3rd 1987.

More than a decade later, the brainchild of Tom Deane-Freeman lives on. Through his best year of 1988 and through the depression and tourist drought of the pilot's strike of '89-'90, during which time he was forced to work in his original trade as an electrician, he survived the ebbs and flows experienced in most tourist oriented destinations, to sell the business and move on. As seems to be the want of every budding entrepreneur. Power to him!

img04.jpg - 15.3 K After the success of '92, and subsequent sale of the business to Mr. Terry Hayton, a seemingly terrible fate awaited. Within days of taking control of the business, new legislation was passed through state parliament, forcing all bicyclists (including pedicab riders AND their passengers) to wear safety helmets as of January 1st '93.

Being the archetypal stalwart he is, Mr. Hayton didn't buckle under the seemingly insurmountable odds, and together with his lawyers, and the solidarity of fellow pedicab owner, Les van Gent, from Gold Coast (S.E. Queensland) they succeeded in having the new legislation amended to it's present format. Which is, that only the pedicab riders must wear safety helmets. The thinking behind this, is even now, totally beyond my comprehension.

Many potential riders found this too much of an imposition, and sadly, business declined. It has taken quite some time to overcome the uncoolness of wearing a helmet, and I have to admit, that in the climate we live in, this means that wearing a helmet is still not quite cool, especially in summer. However we seem to have weathered the storm, so to speak. No doubt helped by the fact that there are literally thousands of recreational cyclists and yet thousands more foreign language students in Cairns, who happily cycle - helmeted - around our town every day of the year.

img02.jpg - 13.8 K Nonetheless, this downturn in business presented me with an opportunity to table an offer to the owner, Terry. After some negotiation we reached an agreement. Thus enabling me to take control of the business on January 2nd '94, and sign contracts on February 15th '94, thereby making me sole owner of Marlin Coast Pedicabs.

I might add, at this point, that I did have the benefit of having ridden the streets of Cairns on cab #2 for a little over 2 years, while at the same time gaining valuable experience, paying my pedicab rent by spending many hours in the workshop. This also gave me an intimate insight into, not only the running of the business, but also a knowledge of each individual cab. And believe me, as they are all hand built, no two cabs are the same.

I would not insult you by suggesting the ride has been smooth, but judging by some of the tales I have heard and read about other pedicab operations, life in Cairns is far from the worst. We have a climate of extremes, which means business fluctuates continually. I could regale you with endless tales of sadness and ecstasy; but why not come and find out for yourself ?

Of one thing I can assure you, we'll be around for a few more decades yet! At least as long as I'm around. You can bet on that.

So, I'll sign off for now. Hope to see some of you pedaling the streets of Cairns in the near future.

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