In the warmer months of the year, you may have noticed a new mode of transportation claiming its spot along the bustling streets of downtown Sioux Falls and Rapid City. At five miles per hour, this group-propelled vehicle tours the area, all while passengers have a drink in hand. Steered by a sober host, the Sip-N-Cycle in Sioux Falls and the Black Hills Party Pedaler in Rapid City have been jamming to music and creating a transportable outdoor party since the first South Dakota “pedal pub” started three years ago.
According to pedalpubpartybikes.com, the idea of the pedal pub originated in 1997 by brothers Henk and Zwier Van Laar of the Netherlands. The “Fietscafe” translated to English is “bike cafe.” The brothers have been manufacturing and distributing the bike ever since.
It first crossed United States soil when a photo of the Fietscafe caught the eyes of two friends, Eric Olson and Al Boyce of the Twin Cities in 2007. Purchasing a bike from the Van Laar brothers and trademarking the brand “PedalPub,” Olson and Boyce can claim themselves as the “first and oldest party bike business in the United States.”
The trend made its way to Sioux Falls in 2014, as three friends, Brian Anderson, Patrick Jones, and Matt Aanenson, who met on deployment in Afghanistan, saw the original PedalPub in the Twin Cities and were inspired to bring the idea to Sioux Falls. Licensing their party bike through the PedalPub trademark, the Sioux Falls Sip-N-Cycle was born.
“It gives people something different to do, it brings people together and gives them a chance to see our growing downtown and our great local establishments,” said Anderson.
Perfect for a multitude of special celebrations, or simply a fun night out, the Sip-N-Cycle highlights special events with the enjoyment of the outdoor weather and good company.
“There was one gal last year, she was starting a new department at her work, and she used a deck of cards for an activity that had people rotating spots. So based upon the card they drew, they rotated seats and got to meet as many people as possible,” said Anderson, recalling unique ways people have utilized the bike.
“There was a rider celebrating his 85th birthday,” said Anderson. “He rode on the back and loved it. I’ve even seen people pedaling in their 70s!”
Black Hills Party Pedaler started a year ago by the Soriano family. With the ever-growing brewery scene, they plan to start a brewery tour to allow tourists and locals to go to tastings and not worry about driving. They also are having a costume contest this season.
“We want to have a costume contest,and invite groups to dress in a theme,” said co-owner Gina Edwards. “We’ll take photos and put them on our Facebook page, and whoever gets the most likes will win a free tour.”
They have an assist, so pedaling isn’t as much of a chore if attendees get tired, and to help with larger hills. Sip-N-Cyle plans to add an assist this month. The best part about these tours, both businesses agree, is that the tour is whatever the group wants it to be.
“We design the tour with the person that rents the bike; we take them on a comprehensive tour of the downtown area, based upon the kind of experience and drinks they want. Whether it’s craft beer or what, the person renting the bike gets to choose,” said Anderson. “Some groups stop once or three times, some groups do the traditional pub crawl, and some never stop unless they need to use the restroom or stretch their legs.”
The best part, says co-owner of BHPP John Soriano, is that the entire community interacts.
He said, “One of the coolest things is when we’re downtown, and spectators start dancing with us and get involved even when they’re not doing it.”
MORE ON SD PARTY BIKES:
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Make sure you’re ready for any kind of weather (both have storage if you don’t need layers or for bags).
- Come ready with a playlist! Both party bikes have Bluetooth, Auxiliary Cords, and CD players, but are provided with music, if needed.
- Bring cash to tip your awesome host and driver.
- You can’t bring your own alcoholic beverages, as both bikes provide beer and wine (BHPP also provides liquor).
- Sip-N-Cycle holds 16 people (10 pedal, three on bench). BHPP holds 11 people (eight pedal, three on bench).
- On Sip-N-Cycle, you must be 18 or older to ride. On BHPP, you can ride if you can reach the pedals! They host rides for kids, which makes stops at places like ice cream shops, bowling alleys, or host Pokémon Go parties, and more.
- Sip-N-Cycle costs $275 Sunday-Thursday, $350 Friday-Saturday; BHPP costs $200 Sunday-Thursday, $250 Friday-Saturday.