Here in South Florida, we like to booze it up on the beach, on boats and even on bikes. We'll drink almost anywhere, anyhow we can, really. And while you may have seen a bike pub crawl or two making its way around Fort Lauderdale -- we're betting you've never seen 15 people seated on a bike/bus/mobile party.
Cycle Party, as described above, is a concept new to Florida, but not to the Northeast, or Europe, where it appears to have originated. And now that it's come to Fort Lauderdale, this might be the best thing ever.
Founder Chris Costello Haerting launched the party-on-wheels after his dad sent him an article about a similar concept in Germany. Before Cycle Party, Haerting worked in restaurants and sales. He and his dad, along with friend Simon Fernandez, are all partners in the endeavor. And so far, it's been so good.
"We've been finalizing everything, working out deals with a lot of restaurants and bars, figuring our routes, different types of tours. So far I've had two tours, we have a few more booked this weekend. We're getting inquiries every day. Wednesday through Saturday I park it, and it draws so much attention that I'm constantly talking. The next day I get calls and emails and inquiries."
Because the concept is new to South Florida, the group has had to lobby individual cities to get approval. They were recently given the go-ahead in Fort Lauderdale, and they're working on Hollywood, Coral Gables and Miami.
"I've worked out specials at the Royal Pig and American Social. They're offering us half-off anything in the bar for my guests. They love it because it's 15 people coming in at a time, the majority are locals so for them it's like a marketing thing. They might get people that perhaps have never been into those bars and they may go back," Haerting says.
"I also want to set up a craft brew tour, we could have brewers giving a lesson in the center of the bike, or a wine tasting tour, a fruit tasting tour."
For those who are interested in booking a tour, they're down to do almost anything clients dream up, from bachelorette parties to wedding transportation. They've been requested at private resorts, festivals, stadiums and all kinds of other venues. They're even thinking about a national park tour.
We suspect they're gonna need another bike, like, soon.
The minimum time for a tour is two hours, though groups can book for longer if they choose. The bike holds 15 people, but fewer than that can safely operate it. A comfortable ride is six or eight people minimum, Haerting says.
"They're not pedaling for two hours because we're doing the stops. They pedal for 15, 20 minutes, go inside, hang out on the bike for a bit. Everybody likes the attention they get while they're on the bike. It's got music on board so we typically blast that and everybody's having a good time," he adds.
For daytime tours, they charge $350 for two hours, before 5 p.m. After 5 p.m., it's $450. That's a measly $30 per person, split among your friends.
Already, fans of Cycle Party are requesting branded merchandise, from t-shirts to cups.
We suspect something big is brewing.
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