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Pedicab Hoodie

Pedicab Hoodie

The pedicab is a three-wheeled, human-powered mechanical vehicle. It is made up of a bicycle attached to a sidecar that can seat up to two people. These may come with a roof for both the driver and the passengers, or none. It can seat at most four people.


The pedicab is a mixture the words ‘pedal,’ referring to how the bike is powered, and ‘cab,’ referring to the sidecar that ferries people. It is also called the padyak or sikad, the equivalent of the phrase ‘to pedal’ in Tagalog and Bisaya. Another name is traysikad in Bisaya, referring to the number of its wheels.


The pedicab traces its roots to the cycle-rickshaw that was borrowed from Japan, replacing the impractical man-pulled rickshaw. In Asia, the cycle-rickshaw boom began in the 1920s in Singapore. Some would believe that the pedicab is the precursor to the tricycle, but the exact date of the introduction of both modes of transportation in the Philippines is unknown.


One source said that the pedicab appeared during World War 2 from Japanese influence and used as a cheap mode of transportation. Meanwhile, it is said that before World War 2, the trike has never been seen anywhere in the country.  Another theory says the trikes were born around the same time Army Jeeps were also turned into the iconic mode of public transportation known today as jeepney. The sidecar for the pedicab and tricycle is said to come from scrap parts, notably from GI Army Jeeps.

It is also not recorded when or how the pedicab and trike spread throughout the country. However, the spread of both to different parts of the country resulted in different types and looks so that the modern pedicab and tricycle does not specifically follow a single design.


Modern pedicab and tricycle

The modern pedicab and tricycle are the most common modes of transportation around the Philippines, even beating the iconic kalesa and jeepney. Why? Their size makes them versatile for small roads in urban and rural settings. However, trikes are more widespread since powering them do not require as much effort as the pedicab and they can ply greater distances than the pedicab.


Pedicabs and trikes from various regions in the country do not often look the same. The differences lie heavily in the design and seating capacity of the sidecar. The ‘dashboard’ of the motorcycle may also look different.


The pedicab and tricycle may have an unclear origin. But they remain an icon in the Philippines because they are a choice mode of transportation around the country. In effect, they are also a symbol of Filipino ingenuity and versatility that enables us to make do with whatever we have to achieve our goals.