There is a fine line between local tourist traps and legitimate locals-approved entertainment. Anyone who has seen those Canadian families cheering in blissful ignorance while touring through downtown on those big Seal Tours buses knows exactly what I’m talking about. And don’t even get me started on segways.
Real San Diego locals prefer to ride in style and cruise under the radar, often booking party buses and luxury yachts for glamorous weekend adventures. And now we have a new option in the transportation game, an industry changing company that requires you to do a little work, but promises a completely unique and interactive experience in return. Meet Social Cycle, home to the West Coast’s first 16-passenger touring bicycles that are manufactured in Amsterdam and shipped to California for your pedal-powered pleasure.
Social Cycle is officially locals-approved, but conscious tourists will have to fight us for a reservation this fall. Just ask longtime San Diegan Laura Rovick, the woman responsible for bringing these bikes to town. Laura launched Social Cycle in October 2011, marking the first brand of its kind to hit the West Coast. The original concept was first created in 2000 in Amsterdam, where the bikes continue to be built and then licensed to select cities around the world. Social Cycle currently boasts two of the Dutch-style bikes, and offers lively tours in the downtown area as well as hourly rentals for custom events, such as bachelor parties, corporate events, team-building, tailgating and bar-hopping. As the market develops, Social Cycle plans to expand to more urban neighborhoods in San Diego as well as up to Orange County, Long Beach and the Los Angeles area.
Back story aside, Social Cycle’s big buzz is based on the one-of-a-kind experience that intertwines eco-friendly city tours with light exercise and heavy social bonding. You and 15 friends will hop on and pedal your way around the Gaslamp Quarter, East Village, Seaport Village and Little Italy. But don’t worry, you don’t have to actually pay attention; every tour comes with a professional driver who handles the steering, signals and brakes, while you share stories and make new memories. This “Captain” will definitely come in handy after a few lengthy stops at Basic, Neighborhood and Bub’s on your East Village bar crawl.
The Social Cycle can be rented by the hour, with a two-hour minimum, and the group experience is priced at $200 per hour Friday through Sunday, and $185 per hour Monday through Thursday. That comes to just over $10 per person, per hour, for the 16-passenger bike tour. For more information and to book your tour reservation, visit socialcyclesd.com.