Jesse Pomeroy, an art teacher in Toms River, said he wanted to do something fun with his summers.
He also said he thought the nearby town of Asbury Park needed better publicity.
Enter Asbury Pedalcycle — a 15-passenger bike and bar crawl perfect for team building, family outings, birthday and engagement parties, charity events, and more.
“We work with some awesome bars and restaurants in town that give our riders exclusives,” Pomeroy, founder and CEO of Asbury Pedalcycle in Asbury Park, said. “It is an incentive for people to go into an establishment and maybe try something that they would not have otherwise.”
It was nearly four years ago that Pomeroy traveled to Ashville, North Carolina, and took part in a similar venture.
“My best friend had purchased seats on one of these types of bikes as an engagement gift,” he said. “We had the best time in the world — and it was insane to me that this sort of thing also was not in New Jersey.”
When Pomeroy returned home, he said he researched what it might take to start and run such a business here.
There was just one glaring difference: New Jersey riders would not be able to bring-their-own-booze on the bike like he had in North Carolina.
“New Jersey currently will not allow us to drink alcohol on the bike,” Pomeroy said. “So, I thought I would add my own twist.”
Beginning in July 2017, in partnership with Matt Schultz, another art teacher in Toms River, Asbury Pedalcycle began offering tours of multiple bars and restaurants upon the 15-seat bicycle while listening to music, eating snacks and drinking water.
“Other bike tours simply bring you around town and let you experience it from the street,” Pomeroy said. “I really wanted our riders to experience Asbury Park as it changes, because, over the past five years, the city has only gotten bigger and better.
“For our riders to be able to go into establishments such as Porta, Langosta Lounge or the Asbury Park Yacht Club, or to go onto the beach at The Anchor’s Bend, that is even more awesome to be able to experience those different types of atmospheres.”
Each tour lasts nearly two hours and visits up to three establishments.
“When their half-hour is up, our riders come back out and get back on the bike,” Pomeroy said.
The tour costs $30 per person and operates from outside The Asbury Hotel.
“The Asbury Hotel has been absolutely amazing to us, taking us under their wing and housing our business,” Pomeroy said. “We always recommend that after each ride our participants head inside to check out our host.”
The entire bicycle also can be rented for $425 — but, much like a coxswain steering rowers on a crew boat, the environment is still controlled by the company.
“Each of our tours, whether they are public or private, are accompanied by a trained professional who sits in the middle of the bike, steers and makes sure our riders get to and from each destination safely,” Pomeroy said. “You can still receive penalties for drinking and controlling a bicycle yourself in New Jersey.”
Asbury Pedalcycle also states that unsafe or inappropriate behavior may result in early termination of the tour and a $200 penalty, with examples including everything from littering to extreme intoxication.
Most riders, Pomeroy said, tend to simply want to pedal and have a good time.
The company had nearly 700 riders in its first year, but, this season, thanks to produced video content and positive word-of-mouth, Asbury Pedalcycle has had 2,128 riders thus far.
“This summer was really amazing for us,” Pomeroy said. “By next season, which will probably start in April, we’re going to have a second bike in Asbury Park that can offer more tours, such as beach tours or downtown tours, and we’ve also started offering food tours with our good friends, also teachers, who created the Taste of Asbury.”
Their current season will end this November.
“We’re actually looking into ways to winterize the bike, to see how much further we can push the season, because Asbury Park still is great during that time,” Pomeroy said.
In the meantime, Pomeroy added, the company will continue to get new establishments on board.
“That way, for our riders on the tour, we can ask, ‘What are you in the mood for?’” he said. “And if they say they really like German beer, we’d of course bring them to Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, who we recently have partnered up with.”
Pomeroy also said he is interested in branching out of Asbury Park, too.
“We are in the process of getting more approvals,” he said. “Seaside Heights, for example, we plan to be there this upcoming season.
“There are just so many great shore towns in New Jersey, each with its own unique places to offer. We want to make sure we are properly showcasing them.”
For more information, or to book a tour, contact Asbury Pedalcycle at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-814-5493.