A new mode of transportation is rolling down the streets of Bay City. While enjoying the shops and restaurants downtown, visitors may now hail a pedicab to escort them around.
A pedicab is a small pedal-operated vehicle with a carriage attached that can hold up to two people. Bayside Buggies, owned and operated by Cory Christopher, is the first pedicab business in Bay City and is open for business downtown. Christopher hopes to make buggies available in the Midland Street Historic District soon.
Bayside Buggies offers routine transportation as well as scenic tours of the downtown area. To catch a ride, either signal a driver in person or schedule a scenic tour on the Bayside Buggies website
or Facebook page
The buggies are equipped with small storage spaces under the seats for any bags or belongings. A quick stop destination costs $10 and an hour-long scenic tour runs $70.
Lyndsay Edmonds, Downtown Bay City resident and the owner of Public House and Harless and Hugh Coffee, says pedicabs are perfect for Bay City and the downtown vibe.
“I’m excited for this in Bay City as I believe more bicycles and people walking downtown is always a positive thing,” Edmonds says. “It’s a slower way to see our storefronts and travel from place to place. I’d love to someday see allocated bike lanes in our streets.”
Bayside Buggies consists of four, two-person pedicabs serving Downtown Bay City, but Christopher hopes to expand to larger cabs and to serve the Midland Street area.Edmonds says viewing Bay City through a slower lens elevates the community for residents and guests alike.
“Hopefully this will slow down car traffic in downtown and make people more aware of our slower traffic lifestyle we’re trying to incorporate such as more bikes, scooters, and walking.”
Christopher had the idea to bring pedicabs to Bay City when he was searching the internet for an ice cream cart. Christopher stumbled upon used pedicabs for sale and was instantly intrigued.
“I came across pedicabs and fell in love with the idea,” says Christopher. “I realized there was an actual need for that here.”
Throwing himself into research, Christopher discovered a pedicab service in Ann Arbor called “Boober Ann Arbor” and reached out to the owner for advice. Christopher soon found himself in Ann Arbor enjoying tea with the owner and bending his ear on all things business.
“We went over the ins and outs of running a pedicab business, what it took, and what it might take for me to get started here because it's never been done,” Christopher says.
Though the 32-year-old was born in Bay City, he has not always called it home. Christopher was born to a young mother and absentee father, resulting in moving quite often as a child.
“My mom had me when she was young, so she went where the work was,” says Christopher. “I lived in small towns and I lived in big cities. I became diverse because of moving around so much.”
When Christopher was 18, he moved to Texas where he would meet the mother of his children and spend the next seven years. Struggling in Texas to raise his children without the support of his family, he decided to move back to Bay City to be near his mother and grandmother. Months after the reunion, Christopher’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and died soon after.
“I went through a lot of depression, a lot of troubles with drinking, and became a neglectful father,” he says.
A few years later, he lost the other matriarch of the family, his grandmother.
Christopher admits this sent him further down a dark path, leading to some run-ins with the law that landed him in jail. While there, he realized he was failing his children. They weren’t leading the lives they deserved.
Something snapped inside Christopher and he knew he needed to be there for his children.
“Right then I knew, nobody was going to take care of my kids the way they needed to be taken care of other than me,” Christopher says.
With newfound motivation and the drive to be the father his kids deserve, Christopher began using the programs from jail and probation to became a more present and active father.
“I found my passion and self-awareness in mental health,” says Christopher. “I really opened up in AA and in the group sessions, I was able to find my voice.”
Embarking on a new life after jail, Christopher earned his GED and entered into a welding certification program, all while working two bartending jobs and raising his children.
“I had a full plate,” Christopher says. “I was motivated and driven. I was living up to my full potential.”
Looking for something to pour his energy into, he started searching for business opportunities. He also reached out to his father, Manuel Guerra, who Christopher first met when Christopher was 18 years old.
“I reached out to him and started establishing the relationship, just out of curiosity,” says Christopher.
Slowly, a relationship formed. When his father was in an accident and awarded settlement, he offered to invest in Christopher’s idea and Bayside Buggies was born.
Each Bayside Buggy has room for two people, but Christopher plans to expand. He envisions motorized buggies with capacities of 10 to 15 people each. He’s excited about creating mobile DJ buggies or cash-cab style buggies with trivia questions for passengers.
He also wants to help inspire change and give a second chance to those in the community who need help. Christopher is gearing up to work with the city on ordinances to allow his pedicab business to employ people who have alcohol-related charges in their past and are attempting to do better in the future.
Christopher celebrates five years of sobriety this summer. He sees a bright future for Bayside Buggies, himself, his community, but most of all, his family.