Iowa City pedicab business adopts innovative advertising

Pedal Power, which began as an advertising company four years ago, started offering taxi services in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids in 2021. After a short break in the winter, they’re resuming their services for the spring season.

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Sam Knupp, News Reporter


Pedal Power, an Iowa City and Cedar Rapids pedicab business, is back for the spring season with a new goal — lowering costs with innovative advertising ideas.

Pedal Power, which began four years ago as an advertising company, started its pedicab services in Cedar Rapids in April 2021 and July 2021 in Iowa City.

Founder of Pedal Power Ben Snyder said the company’s philosophy in Iowa City is to save people money while getting them to their destination in a timely manner.

Pedal Power also provides novelty services for date nights, weddings, barhopping, or picnics, Snyder said.

“If somebody wants to take somebody on a picnic instead of a restaurant… it can be a thing where it can be a surprise for one of the people, and we can roll up to a picnic set up with a wooden wicker basket and give them a blanket with food that they prefer and partnerships with restaurants,” he said.

Snyder said advertising and partnerships with businesses are integral to Pedal Power’s business, allowing them to charge just $5 per ride, per person.

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“Our goal, honestly, in the long run is to provide the rides for free and have the advertising revenue cover the free rides because that’d be better for the people we’re advertising for as well,” he said. “Then people would take note like ‘Oh, this ride’s free, oh, it’s paid for by this advertisement. That’s really cool of that XYZ business.’”

Snyder said he would like to start partnering with local businesses to do a cash cab event once a month where customers can answer trivia questions and be given prizes from local businesses for correct answers. Videos from the events will then be published online with the customer’s permission.

Emma Berry, one of the managers at Pedal Power, said ad partnerships have allowed the business to provide services outside its normal areas and provide services at the Iowa State Fair on top of reducing costs for customers.

“We’ve done advertisements for Balloons Etcetera here in town,” she said. “We advertised for the Climate Fest in Iowa City last year, and we even had a banner ad for that one, too.”

Pedal Power currently has seven bikers on staff and plans to resume its services in Iowa City this week, weather permitting.

Snyder said the pedicabs will be able to take people where they need to be as quickly as Uber at a lower price, while also being environmentally friendly.

Kyle Hicks, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019, said he enjoys the convenience and affordability of companies like Uber and Lyft, but noticed that their prices have risen over time.

He said he would be open to using a pedicab service under the right circumstances.

“I could definitely see people in the right environment having that happen,” he said. “Especially during the warmer times of being in Iowa City, I could definitely see that being a fun attraction for the college kids to go around and do that kind of stuff.”

While Pedal Power did not offer pedicab services this winter, Snyder said he plans to do so in the future.

“That was just more of a maintenance issue,” he said. “We got a new motor and stuff like that. So, it took some time with back-ordered parts just to kind of get everything back and up and running. But we will go year-round with it.”

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