If you spot a trolley car rolling along a downtown street in Traverse City that’s loaded with people looking like they’re having entirely too much fun, you’ve just seen the TC Cycle Pub go by. Traverse City natives Kevin Farron and Troy Daily launched their self-guided, self-propelled brew tour of the downtown area in 2013.
Farron took time out to share a bit more about this unique tourist attraction:
How did you first get into the cycle pub business? I got the idea to start the TC Cycle Pub after seeing a similar operation in Bend, Oreg. My first thought was, “Wow. Traverse City definitely needs one of these.”
Why did you pick Traverse City to cycle around? This is where Troy and I have our roots, connections, family and friends. Best of all, it’s a tourism mecca with a flat, accessible waterfront and a growing number of breweries, a close-knit downtown community, local food movement and easy access to top-notch outdoor activities.
Do TC Cycle Pub crawlers need to start with training wheels? Not at all. Even guests who have never ridden a bike can propel the Cycle Pub down the street. It’s a two-hour tour, seating up to 14 passengers plus our designated driver/guide. Riders pedal the Cycle Pub from The Filling Station (where all tours start and end) to downtown. Tours stop at any of the microbreweries in town or pretty much anywhere the group wants to go. Like Northern Naturals for hard cider, Kilwins for ice cream, cocktails at Firefly, the Top of the Park, food carts at The Little Fleet or House of Dogs for a bite to eat. The options are nearly endless.
So, it sounds like a rolling party? Absolutely. It’s perfect for families vacationing here or locals who want to celebrate in style. We’ve hosted many special events in the TC Cycle Pub — birthdays, weddings, bachelor or bachelorette parties, reunions, retirements…you name it!
Do you stop at all the TC Ale Trail Passport breweries? Not all, but most. Mackinaw Brewing, North Peak, The Workshop, Brewery Ferment and Rare Bird are all on our route. A TC Cycle Pub tour is a great way to launch a TC Ale Trail adventure. But where we stop and for how long is entirely up to our guests; it’s their tour. Heck, sometimes folks don’t stop at all! They bring snacks and soft drinks and pedal around beautiful Traverse City and the waterfront, enjoying the attention and fun that comes with creating your very own parade of one!
What do you most enjoy about the business? I think it’s the reaction we get from riders and onlookers alike. It never gets old and it’s like seeing a kid’s reaction to something for the first time. When someone watches us go by for the first time, they’re in awe. When they watch us go by the second time, the reaction is, “Here it comes again! How fun is that?” Put simply, what I enjoy most are the smiles of riders and onlookers.
Do you celebrate any special summer traditions? Last year we were involved with the Summer Microbrew and Music Festival, two Cherry Festival parades, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Tweed Ride, the Winter Microbrew and Music Festival. And already, we’ve had a number of riders say that they will make us a tradition!
Freelance writer Caroline J. Beck lives in California’s wine country and Lexington, Mich.