“Who isn’t pedaling?”
Bell rings for 4 seconds.
These are just some of the (many) sounds you will hear coming from the Charm City Pedal Mill as it rolls through the streets of Fells Point in downtown Baltimore. 16 friends have come together to celebrate a birthday, bachelorette, or (very often) just being alive.
The “bike” (as we refer to it) is reserved weeks, and even months ahead of time for special occasions. On the day of their outing, guests arrive 15 minutes before their time slot (let’s be honest – most arrive 5 minutes prior, but we suggest 15 minutes so they get maximal bike time). They trade a signed waiver (we’re all about safety) for an orange (go O’s) wristband that will get them happy hour pricing at our partner bars (more on them in a later blog post).
Once wristbanded, they climb aboard the 2,000 lb, 17 ft long bike. There are 12 bike seats (10 with pedals, and 2 above the back wheels), a bench on the back, and room in the middle with the driver (the dance floor, as we call it). They are welcomed to the Charm City Pedal Mill, introduced to their driver, given a brief safety talk, and pedal off to their custom playlist as the bell rings to signal their legs to start circling.
Throughout the two hour tour, each group hits three awesome bars in Fells, spending about 25-30 minutes per bar, with a nice little bike ride between. Our driver (most importantly) stays sober throughout the tour, guides them from bar to bar, and keeps them on track to hit the 3 bars with 5 minute warnings to close tabs and get back on the bike. Some rush out to the bike to get the “best seat”, but honestly there’s not a bad seat in the house!
Upon returning to the start/end point just outside of Ale Mary’s, there is a roller coaster of emotions that each group goes through:
1. An eruption of yells, hands slamming on the bar, and thanks to the driver and manager.
2. A groan of depression as the acknowledgment that the best part of their day/night is over, and they’ll have to go back to the boring way of getting from bar to bar (walking, pfft).
3. More thanks (hugs, hands dropping in the tip jar, and high fives) as everyone dismounts and heads off to their next destination.
Unless it is the last tour of the night, there is generally another group waiting to repeat the process, and the interaction between groups is always hilarious. We’ve heard everything from: “Dude, you’re going to have a blast!” to “They’re not going to be as cool of a group as ours!”
And we’re off with another group!
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