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City hails a rickshaw.

Byline: By Neil Mckay

Visitors to one of the North's most attractive cities can now explore it in style, thanks to pedal power.

Father-of-four Steve Murphy, 44, has launched the first pedicab, or cycle rickshaw, service in Durham.

He has high hopes the pounds 7,000 machine, which has an electric motor to help him cope with some of the city's steep inclines, will be a hit with locals and tourists alike.

It has already been given a clean bill of health from city council licensing bosses, who granted him a hackney carriage licence so he is entitled to pick up would-be passengers who flag him down.

Pedicabs, common in the Far East, have become popular in British cities and Steve, from Brandon, hopes that the idea will catch on in Durham.

He will be able to carry up to three people, charging pounds 3 for a five-minute ride and pounds 8 for a half-hour guided tour.

"I enjoy cycling but I am out of practice and I need to double my fitness level, but that will come in time. Although I am helped by having an electric battery the pedalling is still quite strenuous at times," said Steve.

He added: "But I hope this vehicle will add to the attractions of the city centre. It is an eco-friendly form of transport, and is also a romantic way to travel on a date to a restaurant or pub."

Steve, a full-time social worker, says the business is limited to the summer, but he has high hopes of success.

The rickshaw can carry three people but has a weight limit of 25 stone. For information, call 07845 432569.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 5, 2007
Words:277
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