The wheels were turning, all right. When Gulf Breeze native Nick Sexton suffered a snowboarding accident that landed him in surgery, he didn’t let it keep him down. Rather, he viewed it as an opportunity to make things happen.
After graduating from Gulf Breeze High and earning his marketing degree from the University of Central Florida, Sexton hoped to make his way back to Pensacola. “I wanted to come home, but all the good jobs were taken,” he says. “We already had beach chair rentals, jet skis, paddleboards … what could I do?”
But there was one business venture no one had brought to the beach. Sexton took the road less traveled, calling to mind a mode of transportation he had enjoyed during a vacation to Colorado. A little luck and a lot of hard work later, Gulf Coast Pedicab Service hit the ground running … err, pedaling.
Today, the fledgling company is on a roll, with a dozen bicycle-driven, eco-friendly pedicabs operating year-round throughout Downtown Pensacola and seasonally on Pensacola Beach.
Most pick-ups happen between 6 p.m. to midnight, but drivers are only a phone call away throughout the day, if you fancy an open-air tour. Pedicabs can comfortably accommodate two to three adults, with children in their laps, and group tours are available with advance booking.
Inland, Gulf Coast Pedicab Service transports customers to special events and ballgames, when parking is a challenge. On the beach, they’ll take you anywhere – even if you don’t know where you’re going.
Sexton, whose own bride-to-be is a wedding planner, has expanded his operation to include two little white wedding cabs, used exclusively for bride-and-groom getaways. It’s the modern day version of the limousine, only better – you and your love can be pedaled off into the sunset through the glitter of sparklers.
“The great thing about our drivers is they’re all local,” Sexton says. “They’re not just transportation, they’re tour guides with insider information.”
And it’s not just a ride, it’s an experience. He continues: “I make sure my drivers love what they do, talk as much as they can, and spread the word about local news and everything there is to do here. We can get anyone giggling in the cab – kids LOVE them.”
So when you spot the guys in the bright green shirts, wave ‘em down. And don’t expect a hefty fare. Even when the pedaling gets tough, drivers operate solely on tips, because the marketing-minded Sexton sells advertising on his cabs to keep rides free.
Bottom line: What you pay is up to you. (But don’t be petty, tip your ‘pedi!’)