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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Local pedicab owner a driving force in community

Mike Griffith’s dog, Little G, is with the pedicab driver every pedal of the way and even dresses up with Griffith depending on the holiday. Photo courtesy of Mike Griffith.

Nine years ago, Mike Griffith was homeless and living in a Chico park until he found his calling.

Now, he’s become a familiar and active voice in the community after riding out of the dark hole in which he found himself by starting a pedicab business.

Griffith, more commonly known as Mike G, gives rides to locals, students or anyone in the area at all times of the day.

“I work mornings and nights, whether I’m driving people home at eight in the morning from the farmers market or those who go out at night,” Griffith said. “All people have to do is give me a call. I normally stay out until I don’t get anymore calls and when I know all of my regulars are safe and at home.”

There are 10 sobriety steps tied to his bike that continuously remind Griffith of a personal accomplishment, he said.

“I’ve been clean for eight and a half years,” Griffith said. “That’s a big part of my life, staying away from drinking and using drugs.”

A friendly pedicab driver helped Griffith discover his calling by giving him the opportunity to practice on his bike. Day after day, he practiced riding until he was able to purchase one of his own and create his business.

In 2007, Griffith got sober and got on his pedicab, the “G-Ride party bike.” His dog, Little G, is with him every pedal of the way and even dresses up with Griffith depending on the holiday.

Griffith attracts the majority of his costumers through the music he plays from the back of his bike, he said.

“Everybody gets down to the music,” Griffith said. “If they don’t, I point them out, and then they’ll start dancing.”

He landed an audio sponsor, Mobile Excitement, to keep the music going all day and night.

“I play a lot of funk, disco and oldies, which people always respond well to,” Griffith said. “I’ll change the music around 10:30 p.m. when the majority of the younger people are out and play songs like ‘All About That Bass’ and ‘Turn Down for What.’”

Griffith also produced his own song, “Mike G Ride,” which was made by local artists, Nina Loco and DJ Furious Stylez. The rap song promotes safe drinking in Chico and highlights many of the issues he is passionate about.

“My buddy from Chico DJs and laid down the beat,” Griffith said. “Nina Loco contributed the vocals, and now it’s the ‘Mike G Ride Song,’ which can be heard on my SoundCloud.”

Aside from his love of music, Griffith is an advocate for bike safety and holds an event every year in order to promote awareness and protection while riding a bike. This year’s event will be on the Chico State campus in May.

Additionally, he leads an annual running and walking event for Kristina Chesterman, who was hit and killed by a drunk driver in September of 2013. The gathering focuses on the importance of safety while riding as well as the dangers of drinking and driving.

This year’s event will take place on April 19 at the One Mile Recreation Area.

In addition to the dangers that come with biking, Griffith is also aware of the risks that people can encounter at night, he said.

“My advice is to always watch your drinks and always be aware of who is around you,” Griffith said. “Always walk in pairs. Whether you’re a man or woman, it is important to stay in pairs.”

Griffith’s independent business is geared toward helping everyone. Whether dressed up like Santa Clause or Cupid, Mike G and Little G provide their community with reliable and friendly transportation, he said.

“Some days are busy and some are slow,” Griffith said, “but I’ll be riding for these people until my legs stop working.”

Blaine Ball can be reached at [email protected] or @BlaineHBall on Twitter.

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