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Pedal Power! Local duo adds eco-friendly way of travel to the island

September 7, 2010

Finding a way to stay healthy and have fun while promoting an eco-friendly way to get around the island, Tony and Laurie LaValle have recently begun running bicycle-powered rickshaws around Fort Myers Beach with the all-new Spin One Rickshaw Company.

The owners of Surf Pie Pizzeria decided to get into eco-friendly transportation shortly after the recent oil disaster, and after making some observations while on our neighboring island to the south, Key West.

"We spend a lot of time in the Keys, and Key West is very similar to our town, I think," Tony said. "It's such a great way to get around its eco-friendly, it's really fun for people. They get on and don't realize how much fun they're going to have until they're on there. Plus, it's good exercise. It started with the oil spill, and I wanted to get something together for coastal reserve."

Article Photos

Tony, Laurie and Cole LaValle have recently begun Spin One Rickshaw Company, promoting a healthy, fun and eco-friendly way to get around the island. The owners of Surf Pie are sure to point out that, while helping the environment with their carbon-free transporation service, their new company also donates proceeds to the conservation of our local marine economy. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.

That's right on top of the many other reasons why Tony and Laurie got their Spin One rickshaw business going, helping our local marine environment is yet another one.

"All of our rickshaw rides right now are just on donations, with proceeds going to a local marine preservation fund," Tony said. "Everything brought in is donated to coastal conservation. I'm actually looking for a local non-profit organization right now to donate to."

Primarily riding through the weekends, and most nights during the week, Tony and his Spin One taxi team can be seen in their bright yellow rickshaws throughout the island. The team currently has two cabs, and looks forward to adding a third in the near future.

"I want to have Spin One posts at the north end of the island, the south end, and mid-island. That way all of the beach is covered," Tony said. "It's really fun. You can just meet at Surf Pie, unless you see the rickshaw on the island. Then, you can just hop in."

Tony is eager to point out how his rickshaw biz helps boost the local economy.

"I give tips on the places to check out I really give them a little tour of our town, and I love our town," he said. "Sometimes I'll have some people that are just ready to go to the hotel, or are in heels and just don't want to walk that far, and I'll suggest the SOB, or some other great local hot spots, and voila, more beach business."

With two rickshaws currently, they are both fiberglass, "super safe," padded with comfort and can fit two to three grown adults easily.

"It's a great, fun, eco-friendly ride," he said. "We're all about being green We grow our own herbs and spices at our pizzeria. We don't get in our car unless we have to. I think we put 3,000 miles on our car in the last two years."

To hop aboard for a fun ride through Fort Myers Beach, night or day, just stop by Surf Pie anytime, or keep your eyes out for the bright yellow rickshaws on the island.

And, another addition to the Spin One Rickshaw Company is advertising spots on the cabs. Running as a monthly service, just provide Tony and Laurie with a sign for your business, and you'll see it Velcro-ed to the back or side of the cab for a full four weeks.

"It's just another great way to help promote our local businesses in this economy," Tony said.

For more information or to advertise, call 707-3368.

------ Soul Paddle paddle-boarding

Certainly keeping busy in the summertime months, Tony and Laurie LaValle have also begun a paddle-boarding business through our local waterways of Fort Myers Beach, with Nervous Nellie's back bay dock home port of the company.

"We are fully licensed and permitted," Tony said.

Tony and his team teach paddle-boarders, from beginner to experienced, how to enjoy the local water and ecosystem while paddling along the smooth gulf waves. The duo said 10 percent of the proceeds of the business goes to support coastal conservation.

For more information or to schedule a trip, call 707-3368.



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