Jane Gore isn’t everywhere. It just seems that way. One of the last remaining pedicab drivers in Santa Barbara, Gore can frequently be seen pedaling her custom cab up and down State Street, a smiling flurry of long-limbed, blond-haired kinetic energy. What she sells is one part transportation, two parts adventure.
Gore pedals a black seven-speed rig that comes with a padded seat big enough to carry five, a protective canopy, and its own battery-powered music system. If it’s chilly, she has blankets. Helping Gore out is an electric motor without which she couldn’t hope to get the 900 pounds —passengers and machine — up the State Street underpass. “Why kill my knees? Why kill myself at all?” she asks. “And with pedal assist, I can talk to people instead of huffing and puffing.”
Gore used to drive for Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours as a tour guide. But the all-day excursions didn’t mesh with her day job at Trader Joe’s, where she’s worked 15 years. “I was looking for something shorter; it was either pedicabs or driving Uber.” She started out with Santa Barbara Pedicab four years ago, but when rents doubled for its Funk Zone storage yard, the company shut down. Gore and two other drivers opted to stay in the game.
On a good weekend, Gore said she can make $400. “And sometimes I can make zero.” Her bread and butter is the S.B. Bowl, getting concertgoers to and from the show. She works the cruise-ship circuit, as well, and downtown and the Funk Zone on weekends. Late crowds she’s learned to avoid. “I don’t do drunk kids at night,” she said, and she has the stories to back it up.
This April, when Amtrak starts providing early-morning commuter rail service from Ventura, Gore expects her Ride with Jane service will help make the proverbial “last mile” for commuters to and from their jobs a bit easier. A onetime fitness instructor, Gore likes the exercise and independence the gig provides. “I know all the homeless people, I know the merchants, and I know the police,” she said. “I just like being part of the pulse.”
For a pedal-assist Ride with Jane, call (805) 708-8111.