Last year my cousin came to visit us from Brazil’s capital – the real one, Brasilia, the Federal Capital (and also the one that recently took the title of “most motorized city in Brazil” from Curitiba).
He told me beforehand that he was coming by bus on a weekday afternoon and that he would only spend one day here as he was on transit to Buenos Aires. I began to wonder the best way to meet him on arrival, as I don’t own a car and the late afternoon the traffic and public transport aren’t exactly attractive options. I finally decided to pick him up with my Altmayer bikeshaw. There’s enough room for two people and also an additional space beneath the seat for luggage. Besides, I was dying to use it as I had only used a few times before, and just to ride around a little.
The day before he arrived he phoned to confirm the time of his arrival and I told him how I would meet him. He answered with a simple “OK!” “Great”, I thought, “I’m glad he didn’t think it would be awkward”. As I work downtown and the bus terminal is nearby and easy to get to. I didn’t take the bikeshaw on a cycle path because the rickshaw simply would not fit and it’s really uncomfortable to go over street crossings without lowered sidewalks. And even if I didn’t have those problems, there are many obstacles and it would be a burden to pedestrians, since most of the cycle paths are shared with them. So, I decided to use the streets.
Once he arrived and saw the bikeshaw, even though he was tired from his 24 hours journey, he laughed and said: “Are you serious? This is a joke, isn’t it?” I guess he didn’t understand me on the phone after all. But after a little while he got that that was how we where going home.
My apartment is about 3 miles and a few hills away from the bus terminal, and we chatted all the way home. After the first impact and the felling of being “exotic” he relaxed and enjoyed the ride (although he later confessed that he was glad to be in a city where no one knows him).
The final score: Me, a little more tired than usual from pulling almost 220 pounds of extra weight, but deeply satisfied for being able to accomplish it. My cousin, satisfied for trying something really new, but very cool (according to him) and surprised for being able to get to see so much of the city upon his arrival.