MIAMI — Maintenance staff at the city-owned Bayfront Park recently wheeled out their newest tool for keeping the popular downtown park clean – a pedal-powered bicycle-cart hybrid called the Dump Trike.
Park officials expect the invention to save thousands of dollars in the long run by reducing the need for the gas-fueled John Deere Gators they previously used for clean up and maintenance. Bayfront Park Director Tim Schmand also touted the Dump Trike’s environmental benefits.
“We think it’s just the greatest thing, and you don’t know how happy it makes me to have this,” said Schmand.
Miami pedicab company founder Charles Driza and his business partners Aaron Roy, Sam Leuschner, and Bob Forster created the prototype Dump Trike after Schmand sought their assistance. The four men modified and refurbished a pedicab – the tricycle-like taxis popular in tourist destinations – by eliminating the passenger seating and adding new gears and components. They constructed the dump-bed from a recycled plastic platform and used pressure-treated wood for the sides.
The resulting 21-speed Dump Trike hauls 600 pounds and comes with a price tag of $2,400, about $12,600 less than that of a new six-wheeled John Deere Gator. The trike’s balanced frame allows it to be tipped up to dump out waste or mulch through a hinged back door, plus the sides of the Dump Trike come off to create a flatbed.
Schmand expects the Dump Trike to cost much less on upkeep as well. Currently, the park pays about $7,000 a year to maintain its fleet of five Gators. Depending almost entirely on concert and event revenue to pay the bills, park officials are always on the lookout for ways to economize operations.
“This gets us off the hook on that, and gets us on the way we need to go” environmentally, Schmand added.
The developers of the Dump Trike plan to build the next generation with dump-beds made completely from recycled materials. Already, the trike has caught the attention of local parks administrators, some of who dropped by Bayfront Park to see it in action.
The founders also established a Kickstarter page, with a goal of $5,000, to attract potential investors.