Reservations are filling up fast for the slowest vehicle in town.
BG Pedal Company owner Joe Steinmetz geared up his new business in August. This is his first spring and new uses for his 12-person party bike have already been happening.
“Basically, we’re an entertainment company. You can put up to 14 passengers on. There are 10 pedaling seats and the two end seats in the back can accommodate up to four more people,” Steinmetz said. “They get on and bring their own beer or wine, or we can make stops at bars or restaurants and bring things on board. There’s no set path, so it’s OK if passengers want to go on certain roads.”
The tour does follow local Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area rules.
The party bike is also not just a complicated bicycle that allows for 10 people to power it through bicycle pedals, while a driver steers. The passengers sit, five to a side, facing each other over what is similar to a bar. For legal purposes, it’s technically considered a 12-passenger limousine.
“We let the tour kind of guide itself, usually cruising through the town or past college sites,” Steinmetz said. “It tops out at 4 1/2 miles per hour. Yes, we’ve measured. We really have no restrictions in town, but obviously we’re not going to take it on the highway.”
He said that they’ve taken it as far as the mall, but they do try to take less traveled roads. They regularly go to Beckett’s, in downtown Bowling Green, but it starts and stops at Arlyn’s Good Beer, where the bike is stored.
Since starting back up in March, from the winter shutdown, they’ve had a number of college groups, an 80th birthday party and a local hockey team.
“A grandma celebrated her 80th birthday, and that was fun. We’ve also got some ball teams on the agenda,” Steinmetz said.
If you wanted to buy one for yourself, they are made in Tiffin, and cost about $70,000. They have an engine which the driver has the ability to disengage, making it temporarily an entirely pedal-powered vehicle, but Steinmetz said that most people are happy to have that disengaged at some point during the trip.
On Thursday, there were 10 Porchfest friends and two musicians who are also friends, on the party bike. They were using the bike as an advertising tool to promote their event. They posted a Porchfest banner on the front of the bike.
Porchfest is set for June 3, with music from 14 local bands that will be playing on porches and in garages centered around Eberly Avenue.
“This is the first time we’ve had live music on the bike,” Steinmetz said. “Usually it’s just the stereo system.”
The audio system can play anything, from the radio to a Bluetooth link in a rider’s phone. For the Porchfest tour there was no DJ required, because local musicians Mike Williams, on saxophone, and David Nabinger, guitar, were readied for some live blues in E.
Steinmetz began driving for Tiffin Pedal Company in 2019. He and his wife, Bobbi Jo, have always been community oriented and thought Bowling Green, her hometown, might be the perfect location.
Things are already going well this year. They are planning to expand to Findlay with the July 4th weekend as the start date for the next location.
”Heavens no, I haven’t been on a party bike. I’ve seen similar things down in Nashville and Indianapolis. I was really surprised at one of our Porchfest committee meetings when they said there was one of these in town. How cool is that?” Bertie Simcox said just before pedaling off.