BROOKINGS – Jessica Herrboldt is the owner of Bum’s Bike & Brew, and she’s getting ready to debut the first party bike in Brookings this spring.
Officially known as commercial pedal cars or bars, the conveyance resembles a trolley car, but is powered by the pedaling of the people riding upon it, like a bicycle. They are often called party bikes, pedal pubs or bike bars, among other names, Herrboldt said.
“The way I tell people about it: it’s just like a 14-person bike, where you can drink and have fun. You get on and you pedal,” Herrboldt said.
A sober driver, in this case Herrboldt herself, will be steering the party bike to make sure passengers get where they want to go. As business picks up, Herrboldt plans to hire more drivers.
“We have a brake, so we can override their pedaling with our brake,” she added.
There’s also an electric assist on the bike for going up hills or getting out of the way of traffic, she added.
Pedal bars need an alcohol “carrier” license from the state, but each city can set its own guidelines, said City Manager Paul Briseno. That’s exactly what the Brookings City Council did at its Dec. 11 meeting, approving guidelines for commercial pedal cars/bars.
That paved the way for Herrboldt’s business.
Her party bike is being made now out in Oregon, and Herrboldt hopes it will be finished in March, so she can start giving tours in April.
“We actually have our first tour booked for April 27,” she said.
She wouldn’t mind starting earlier but knows South Dakota weather is unpredictable.
“It’ll go from about April … until, I’m hoping, October,” Herrboldt said.
She plans to give tours seven days a week. Weekdays will have three, two-hour tours, starting at 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday’s tours will start at 10 a.m., and Sunday’s tours will start at 12:30 p.m., and run through the day.
Alcoholic beverages, including beer, malt beverages and wine, will be available for purchase at the beginning of the ride, she said.
“We are looking to partner with local businesses. If people want to stop throughout their tour, we can stop at the bars” and other businesses, Herrboldt said.
She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected], or call 605-261-4626.
Getting an idea
Herrboldt grew up in Lennox but attended South Dakota State University, graduating in May with a degree in entrepreneurial studies.
She went to a 1 Million Cups meeting and heard the owners of Spoke and Sport speak.
“I was just thinking of other ways for maybe the college to get back and forth via bikes. Then I remembered seeing the party bike in Sioux Falls,” Herrboldt said.
Party bikes started overseas and made their way to the United States in 2006, when “they brought the first few to Minneapolis,” Herrboldt said.
In the past half-dozen years, they’ve popped up in larger cities across the country. In South Dakota, they can be found in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, she added.
She wanted to set up her business in Brookings.
“I’m alumni, so there’s that,” Herrboldt said with a laugh.
“I think it’s a great town,” she added. “I know Brookings is huge on supporting local businesses and that is amazing.”
Her parents owned a hardware store when she was growing up and it was a struggle, so she knows how tough it can be.
“The community support here is really nice, after seeing what they had gone through,” Herrboldt said. “Super supportive around here.”
She prepared for the party bike business by shadowing one of the bikes in Rapid City, and she plans to go out to Oregon to learn more alongside the manufacturer who’s making her bike.
“He has a few that he runs, so he’s going to show me the ropes on how to use mine,” she said.
Herrboldt was attracted to the party bike because “it’s really different,” she said.
“I grew up in a small town, so we just had to get creative with what we decided to do or how to entertain ourselves,” she noted.
“It’s just a different option for entertainment, really. Don’t want to go to the bars, don’t really want to sit at home and just hang out, you can come hop on the bike, have some fun, socialize,” she said.
She sees it as being ideal for a variety of gatherings.
“It can be anything from a night out with your friends just to kind of relax during the week or something for co-workers to do together, bachelorette parties, anniversaries, reunions, really anything. If you need an excuse, you just kind of make up one,” Herrboldt said.
For now, the party bike is available for people who want to book the entire bike for a two-hour tour, but “eventually we want to have individual seats available to book,” she said. “So eventually, you’ll be able to meet new people when you’re on the bike, make some new friends … make some new memories.”
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]