Pedicab drivers keep on pedaling after fire burns storage warehouse in East Austin

It's SXSW time, one of the busiest times for the city and ride hailing services.

Juan Pablo Taboada is one of many pedicab drivers who can be seen riding around downtown bumping music out of his speakers.

"This is our Christmas time this is our go, go, go keep that energy up and try to make it through the 9 day’s time,” said Taboada. "Me playing my music it'll get some people dancing shaking it around just kind of having a good time at least that vibe at least the energy that's contagious."

About three weeks ago, the pedicab community was uncertain there would be enough pedicabs to serve the high demand during SxXW. On February 19, a fire torched a metal warehouse on East 4th and Comal streets. Taboada got a text from a fellow pedicab driver. "His text simply read the pedicab shop is on fire and didn't specify which one," said Taboada.

Fortunately for Taboada it wasn’t his company. However, nearly 100 pedicabs were stored in the burned down warehouse. Two pedicab companies stored their bikes there.

Weeks leading up to SXSW the pedicab community came together and helped each other out. Companies took in riders without a bike while other companies rented more vehicles. "Just to see all that happening was a great witness to what we have because the way that we band together and come together is really special," Taboada said.

Enough pedicabs were gathered to meet the demands of SXSW no telling what will happen next for seatless drivers once the festival ends. A GoFundMe has been set up for the two companies who lost their vehicles to help restore the warehouse.



Pedicabs damaged in East Austin warehouse fire