Your Chariot Awaits
You may have heard of Mike the Mailman, Ken The Hot Dog Guy, and the Penn State Squirrel Girl, but what about the grey-headed gentlemen who gives free rides on Fridays, blasts music, and gives high-fives all from his tricycle? He’s the general manager of Vamos! Lion Chariot, Todd Miner.
Miner graduated from Penn State University in 1995 with a master’s degree in meteorology. He immediately began to work in the Meteorology Department at Penn State. Miner later went on to produce the New York Times weather page.
A contract the university had with the New York Times was coming to an end in 2009, when Miner realized he "had an opportunity to explore some other options."
On a trip to California, Miner’s crazy idea of starting a bike-taxi business was born. Miner worked the night-shift at Accuweather and The Vamos! Lion Chariot during the day for a few years. Eventually, Miner’s business grew, and he decided to ride the tricycle full-time in 2012.
Six years later, the business is busier than ever. Miner isn’t doing all of the work on his own, however. The bikes are equipped with an electric motor.
“It’s a circular disk. It assists the driver tremendously,” Miner said. “But in general, it’s part machine, part manpower.”
The chariot services have covered weddings, proposals, graduation rides and photography sessions, in addition to the usual State College crowds who enjoy the nightlife and football season.
“We have clients that rely on us to bring them from their tailgate to the stadium just because they have a tough time walking,” Miner said. “It makes me feel great that our businesses and services allow them to do something they love that they normally couldn’t do.”
Video: Todd the Matchmaker
Nevertheless, meteorology will always play a part in Miner’s life. During the summer, Miner works as a Penn State Weather Camp Instructor for high school and middle school children.
“You can take the boy out of the weather, but you can’t take the weather out of the boy,” Miner said.
Miner can be spotted fist-pumping, cheering, and singing along with his passengers on a ride to the Corner Room or a jam session through frat row, as he leaves his mark on the Penn State community.
“I guess you get to share in the special moments of people’s lives,” Miner said. “Not many people get that opportunity, so I’m grateful for it.”