Appropriately enough, Rhett Reynolds arrived at his idea for an uber-tech beercycle while drinking a draft with a friend as they watched the World Cup at Brit's Pub in Minneapolis last summer.
Pining to return to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where he had gone to college, Reynolds told Matt Frakes he wanted to buy a PedalPub franchise and give it a go in Florida. Instead, Frakes suggested that his employer, Caztek Engineering, could come with a faster, sleeker, cooler version.
The result, the 14-passenger City Cycle (www.thecitycycle.com), has been plying the streets of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul this summer at around 7 miles per hour.
It looks a drinking man's Trek, with an amalgam of off-the-shelf hot-rod parts complementing a mixture of metals and high- concept design. Add in a high-end audio system, handrails and lots of cupholders and you have a complete human-powered party mobile.
Twin Cities-based PedalPub distributes pub-cycles built in Amsterdam that have a wooden design reminiscent of old streetcars. City Cycle has 12 bike seats, 10 of which have pedals beneath them for locomotion, two for sitting only. A back seat holds two more riders. Reynolds or one of his (always sober) staff handles the driving.
Reynolds' company, City Cycle Tours, charges $160 per hour Monday through Thursday and $195 Friday through Sunday.
Inspired by PedalPub's success -- it has eight vehicles in Minnesota and clients in half a dozen American cities -- Reynolds, 25, is franchising City Cycle and has several potential clients. Caztek hopes to start a manufacturing facility if the City Cycle takes off.
"I want to keep this vehicle manufactured in the United States because I'm extremely proud of it," he said. "It's an American- designed product, and it's the best designed of its class in the world."
Three and out with Rhett Reynolds
- What can you drink on the City Cycle?
Passengers bring their own beer and wine and we store it in coolers that are built into the vehicle. We don't allow liquor.
- Has anyone fallen off?
No, no. Surprisingly, people have done some drinking but no one has fallen off the seat. What people get a kick out of is being out and about with their friends.
- What's next for you?
I'm opening my own franchise in Austin, Texas, this fall and I'm still hoping to get to St. Petersburg (Fla.), where I have a lot of family. Getting back there has been a long and twisted road.