Vamos! Lion Chariot Operations Manager: Todd Miner

State College has many local treasures; from the unique late-night food stores and quaint coffee shops to the many local activities. One of those gems is Vamos! Lion Chariot Pedicab Touring Service. The idea started in 2012, when Todd thought of the idea to have a pedicab business in the heart of Happy Valley. The pedicab features tours at all times of the year around scenic State College and you can usually find these cabs around Beaver Stadium during Penn State football games or downtown during the weekends. The pedicabs are even decorated for different holidays. Here’s a closer look into Miner’s pedicab business.

 

HC: What's your favorite time of year to give tours and why?

TM: Christmas time! Having the chariot all decked out for the season, singing Christmas carols while bundled in blankets and the overall jovial mood of the passengers (and people on the streets watching) makes it a lot of fun.

 

HC: Who thought of this idea/how was this business started?

TM: As the operations manager of the Vamos! Lion Chariot, I strive to make entertainment an integral parts of the rider's experience. It's what separates us from the regular taxi cab! The overall business was started shortly after a trip to California. On the trip, I saw these pedicabs riding around and thought the overall concept would make a nice fit for Happy Valley. I developed a business plan shortly after my return to State College, and in April 2012, I bought the first pedicab. Since then, we've added several other bikes to our fleet and drivers to drive them. It's not uncommon to see three of our chariot bikes circulating for major events like Penn State football games.

 

HC: What’s one of the most hilarious or weird things that has happened while you were giving one of your tours?

TM:  Probably while I was doing a "date" ride on the lion chariot on College Avenue, and all of the sudden, I hear the guy in the carriage exclaim, "She said yes!” The gentleman had just proposed to his girlfriend to her and the driver's (me) surprise. I almost had a heart attack and couldn't believe my ears.

 

HC: What’s your favorite thing about doing these tours?

TM: My favorite thing is seeing all the smiles and hearing all the laughs of the passengers as they ride along on Vamos!. I've had dozens of people tell me that their ride was the "highlight of their day, week and even entire year!" An equal number of riders have called it, "the best ride ever" and one person even said her ride was a, "life-changing experience."

 

HC: What are some ways that you try to add some personality to your tours?

TM: The decorations, music and flashing lights certainly add a lot to the tour experience, especially our special holiday (Christmas) tours. Dressing for the part, such as Santa Claus for our Christmas tours, or a scary ghoul for our halloween rides... it all helps to make the ride a momentary escape from reality into a neat fantasyland.