Roll Through Short North on the Pedal WagonBusiness Profiles — By Susan Post on July 23, 2014 at 8:00 am
Short North-goers may have noticed another alternative form of transportation cruising High Street. The Pedal Wagon takes bar patrons on a two-hour hop to watering holes throughout the area.
Co-Founder and Manager of day-to-day operations in Columbus Stuart Naeny describes the perfect reason to take the Pedal Wagon, “Really any excuse you can come up with to gather some people and have fun.”
Perfect for birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, treating friends and family to a night out on the town, and even as a team-building outing for businesses, “The smallest group we will do is six and the largest we can accommodate is 15,” Naeny says. Groups rent the bike for two hours during which they pedal to four bars around Short North (guided by a company-provided, sober driver, of course!) to enjoy drink specials.
No brews are served on-board, but “Since you can’t drink on board that’s why we arrange for drink specials at all of our stops,” Naeny says. The Pedal Wagon has partnerships with establishments like Pint House, Local Bar, Bodega, BBR, House Beer and Bar 23.
Pedal Wagon has predetermined and themed routes like the High Street Shuffle, the Blue Jackets Brew Cruise and the Buckeye Saturday Stumble, but can accommodate some unique routes with a little bit of planning.
The brew cruise offers tours everyday of the week year-round. “We’re honestly surprised at the amount of fun people that want to do an outing when it’s 30 degrees outside and a chance of snow,” Naeny says. As long as there is no snow or ice on the ground, the Pedal Wagon is good to go.
Primarily a booze-filled outing, “Eight to 90 percent of our tours are 21 and up,” Naeny says, The Pedal Wagon does offer other tour options. “We also cater to family needs as well,” he says. Family-friendly tours are foodie-focused visiting establishments like North Market, Jeni’s and Chocoholique. Sometimes the wagon will roll down to the river as well.
Originally launched in Cincinnati by Naeny and other co-founders Jack Heekin and Tom O’brian, Pedal Wagon rolled to Columbus about two years ago. The city provided a good location to duplicate the concept with its close proximity and similarities the owners found between Over the Rhine, where the wagon was succeeding in Cincy, and Short North. Naeny says the type of businesses, clientele and growth the area is experiencing were all good indicators.
While looking for bar partners, Naeny says people initially responded like he was speaking a foreign language, but once they understood the concept, were very receptive. “We are all about bringing businesses to business,” he says.
Also helping garner positive reception is Experience Columbus. Pedal Wagon joined the network about a year ago. “Since none of us were actually from Columbus, we needed more of a way to get involved with the local businesses and community,” Naeny says.
He raves about their experience. “From day-one interaction they’ve been nothing but great and totally supportive,” Naeny says.
Pedal Wagon has been able to utilize a number of Experience Columbus’s resources. They attend the group tour council meeting every month, as well as various networking events. A list of bars and restaurants provided by Experience Columbus served as a jumping off point for partnerships and a connection to the Segway group provided a valuable relationship to bounce ideas off one another.
Experience Columbus has provided more than a bang-for-the-buck. “We’ve gotten several, several tours beyond the value of the membership out of them,” Naeny says. “We’re always happy to recommend them to other businesses.”
For more information or to book a tour, visit pedalwagon.com.