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Aug. 5, 2020 | Wednesday
Local News
Going mobile: Resident wants to operate 'pedal pub' in town
Tony Visca, NOTL resident, pitching to open a pedal pub business in town at the committee of the whole meeting. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Pedal pubs would make a great addition to the booming bike tourism business in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a local resident says.

Tony Visca made a presentation to NOTL’s committee of the whole Monday night and pitched the idea of opening a pedal pub business in town.

Visca has been in the hospitality business for 25 years and operates several businesses in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, including Johnny Rocco’s Italian Grill, Cracker Jacks Bar and Grill and Mick and Angelo’s Sports Bar and Eatery.

A so-called pedal pub provides a “team-building” experience, he said, and can be used for touring the town and special occasions such as birthdays, bachelorette parties or corporate events.

Each party bike has up to 16 seats. There are 10 pedalling seats, five non-pedalling and one driver. Riders pedal while the pilot steers the bike.

A two-hour tour would allow riders to experience NOTL while making stops at local shops, restaurants, bars and wineries, Visca told councillors.

One of the proposed routes would start from 319 Mary Street and make stops at Niagara Apothecary, the Olde Angel Inn, Peller Estates Winery and Jackson Triggs Estate Winery.

Another suggested route would have stops at Strewn Winery, Konzelmann Estate Winery, Palatine Hills Estate Winery and Stratus Vineyards.

On the third route, stops would include Jackson Triggs Estate Winery, Big Head Wines, Strewn Winery and the Sandtrap Pub and Grill.

The average speed of the bike is 8 to 10 km/h. Each one is equipped with LED front, tail and brake lights, music speakers, canopy lights and blinkers.

Visca said a pedal pub in London, Ont., became successful in its first week of business. He said he would like to start with two bikes and would plan to have four bikes over the next four years.

Pedal pubs would create jobs for locals earning and each pedal tour would bring over $500 to local businesses, he estimated.

Coun. Erwin Wiens wondered where the bikes would be parked on Queen Street and what liability insurance the business would have.

“We would talk to restaurants… or any side streets where we can drop people off safely and they can come back where the bike is parked on the side street. We’re not going to park at a restaurant that has no parking,” said Visca, adding the business would carry $5 million in liability insurance.

Coun. Allan Bisback said he went on a couple of such rides in Buffalo and suggested hiring a local resident as a pilot.

“Whoever you hire as a pilot, they can become a huge, huge advantage to tourism in this town because we learned so much from the pilots. They knew everything that was going on,” he said. “So, I encourage you to train them well and hire a local.”

No decision has yet been made on Visca’s proposal as he was just informing councillors about his idea, Coun. John Wiens told The Lake Report.