UPDATE: Cycle Party has recently expanded, adding a Fort Lauderdale Beach route to their list of tours. Cycle Party is also offering single seat tours for those with lazy friends.
When in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, or Boynton Beach, there's a chance you might hear a bell off in the distance. As the bell gets louder, you might also hear the sound of laughter and music -- maybe some sort of mechanical crank accompanying it. And when all this noise reaches a crescendo, you might see some type of contraption rolling towards you that looks like a much more pleasant version of the human centipede.
If this does happen to you, don't panic. Those people peddling towards you that smell like beer and metal are taking part in a Cycle Party. It comes in peace.
And it might be the most entertaining thing to happen on pedals since E.T. outran the government.
It was in 2011 that the idea for Cycle Party came to co-owner Chris Haerting. After his parents moved back to Germany, they started seeing these bike tours become more and more popular. Chris' father told him about the idea, and he saw an opportunity.
After months of fighting for permits and forging relationships with local businesses, Cycle Party was born. And on New Year's Eve 2012, Cycle Party ran its first tour.
Since then, Haerting's little business that could has continued to grow and spread throughout South Florida. And when you see a Cycle Party in person, it's easy to understand why. Seeing one roll past you is like walking outside and finding a bounce house in your neighbor's yard. It's one of those sights that elicits an instant and involuntary feeling of envy. And that envy is good for business.
"All of our business has been word of mouth, through shared photos, or people who have just seen us," Chris says.
Cycle Party tours now run in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, and West Palm Beach. Chris is also working on a potential beach route in Fort Lauderdale. The bike seats up to fifteen people, but you only need six to book a tour. Ten people peddle at a time, while five moochers get to sit in the back and drink. And drinking is heavily encouraged.
Tours before 5 p.m. cost $350, and tours after 5 p.m. cost $450. There are also discounts offered to Cycle Partiers. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, American Social, Tarpon Bend, and Royal Pig all give 50% off to any Cycle Party groups that come in.
All tours start and end in the same place, but what you do with your two-hour window is completely up to each group, and each group is different.
Whether it's a pub crawl, a fitness tour, or just two hours of silent peddling, groups are free to choose whatever makes them happy. And judging by the faces of those on a Cycle Party, happiness is all but inevitable. Go to cycle-party.com for more details and booking information, and like Cycle Party on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for updates.
Just be sure to let Chris know if you plan on dressing up for your cycle party. Themes are his favorite, and the man wants to participate.