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Bobby Lentell and Colette Valery, happy to bike around in this god-awful-freezing weather.

Last Tuesday night, I saw a very odd sight while walking down 18th Street south of Adams Morgan. About ten of those modern day/all-weather rickshaws descended past me, all in a row, pedaling off into the night.

My god, I thought, they’ll never find riders if they hang together! What dumbies!

There was more to it, of course. These vehicles are called pedicabs. I learned this, as well as other details about this strange inaugural subculture on Saturday night. In search of Chicagoans, I heads out to the Billy Goat Tavern on Capitol Hill. There, I encountered Bobby Lentell and Colette Valery, two independent pedicab drivers from Chicago and Denver, respectively. They had both arrived in Washington D.C. in the last couple of days, and there were others like them coming from Austin, Chicago, New York, and other cities.

Valery said the line of pedicabs that zipped by me the other day were probably riders from a visiting company training to get used to the weather and hills in D.C. (Washington is pretty hilly compared to other locales, according to Valery. ) For Valery, who is independent, this is the first destination in a grand journey through the American south to Tampa for the Superbowl, then onto Mobile for Mardi Gras, South Padre Island for spring break, and Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

In D.C., the local pedicab culture is still simmering gently. But, according to Lentell, it’s “on the up and up.”