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Jan. 27, 2021 | Wednesday
Local News
Pedal Pub ready to roll through streets of NOTL
Fernando Colavecchia, left, and Tony Visca are the owners of the newly opened Pedal Pub in NOTL. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

All aboard: a new eco-friendly mode of transport has come to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The operators of the NOTL Pedal Pub say they are bringing a fun and unique experience to residents and visitors.

The company is starting off with two large "bikes" and offering group pedalling tours to various locations around Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

Each bike holds up to 16 people. There are 10 pedalling seats, five non-pedalling and one driver. Riders do all the work while the pilot steers the bike. The bikes, which are battery-operated and are charged every night, have headlights, blinkers, hazard lights and speakers. Depending on how fast riders pedal, the bike can go from 8 to 10 km/h.

No alcohol is served on the bike and if company representatives see that riders are too intoxicated to pedal, they won't be allowed on a bike. The company also carries $5 million in liability insurance. 

The bikes will park on side streets, instead of main thoroughfares like Queen Street, so they don't block traffic or take up too much parking space.

"If someone has a problem, they can call us right away and we'll make sure we take care of it," said Tony Visca, who co-owns the business with Fernando Colavecchia.

Visca said he is aware of noise complaints received while biking down Queen Street last week and he made sure the music is turned off or down when riding through so-called "quiet zones" such as Fort George or the cemetery. 

"At the end, we're a business in Niagara-on-the-Lake, we want to be a part of the community and we want the community to love us and welcome us. So we're open to any feedback from the community and we will adjust," said office manager Marlo Saganski.

The company's business licence is issued by the Region of Niagara and has to be renewed every year, said Visca, who 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.

“We’re considered a bike so, at the end of the day, we’re a bike. It’s all pedal power. There’s no motor on the bike,” he told The Lake Report.

“The beautiful thing is we’re eco-friendly,” said Saganski.

There are about a half-dozen pilots on staff and one of them is a local guide who also does Ghost Tours. 

The new operation has several tour options for customers, all starting from the Pedal Pub's office at 319 Mary St.

A 2.5-hour-tour offers people a “team-building” experience as riders have to work together to keep the bike rolling, said Visca.

The Old Town tour is perfect for beginners as it goes down Queen Street, then makes stops at Two Sisters Winery and Peller Estates Winery, said Saganski.

The Vine tour takes the bikers through popular neighbourhoods and vineyards, stopping at Jackson Triggs Winery, Stratus Winery and Oast Brewery. This tour has two hills on the route so intermediate to advanced pedaling is required.

The Niagara at Night tour takes riders through Old Town as the pilot tells stories of the city’s haunted past, making a stop at Olde Angel Inn.

Local establishments such as wineries don’t have any objection to the bikes, said Visca, as the tours bring in large groups of people who may spend several hundred dollars or more at each stop.

Both the town’s safety committee and transportation committees have safety concerns regarding the bikes, said Coun. Norm Arsenault, but the owner reassured the town he would address all the concerns.

“The owner does everything he can to satisfy people and keep everybody happy,” said Arsenault. “I think he’s trying to do everything well. I wish him nothing but luck.”