The Road Home
As the owner of High Five Pedal Tours, a question I get asked a lot is, “how did you get into something like this?” Since it is a question that comes up a lot, I’ve become very good at shortening it up so it’s easier to digest and I’m no talking someone’s ear off. However, some people want the long version and I’m more than happy to tell them. I try to read how people are reacting to the story while I’m telling it, and from there I either leave details in or take them out. This version is going to be somewhere between the long and abridged versions.
This whole thing happened very quickly if you ask me. Back in May of 2015 my family and I took a trip out to Oregon. We spent a couple days in Cannon Beach, a couple in Eugene, and a day in Portland before heading home. It was those couple days in Eugene that set this train in motion. After dinner we came back to the hotel, and as we were walking toward the doors, I looked over and saw the giant bike with five seats on each side and bicycle pedals under each seat, a steering wheel, brake pedal, headlights, turning signals in the front like a car, and great music coming out of the speakers on the bike. Then, I started to check out all the stickers the bike had on it; breweries, pubs, bars, etc. After that myself, my father-in-law, and his friend started asking the driver questions about what they do, where they go, how it works, etc. I was very intrigued about the business right away.The rest of the trip, the flight home, and the two weeks following our vacation I started to dive deep into how to get one of these bikes. I crunched numbers, benchmarked a number of manufactures, franchises, researched the laws in Michigan (there was a bill on the table during the same time to allow passengers on a commercial quadricycle to consume wine and beer while riding), found an investor, and learned as much as I could about the business. After these two weeks, I was in. I wanted to get this done and I was shooting for the fall of 2015; a little ambitious to say the least. J The next couple months involved registering the LLC, setting up banking, designing a logo, thinking of marketing strategies, and working with the owners of the PedalPub mothership, Eric Olsen and Al Boyce to get all of the paperwork they need for me to become a licensee. This was probably the longest part of the process, and I’m very thankful they were patient with me.
Once all of the documentation was taken care of, I was official! High Five Pedal Tours was a real thing… “Oh, man… this is a real thing…” I thought to myself. But it is something I’ve wanted for a very long time, so it was a major shot of energy. I thought there was a chance that I’d be burnt out from this part of the process, but that didn’t happen, completing that stage only fueled the fire to make sure I was getting High Five ready to go for a spring launch. Not launching in the fall of 2015 was the best thing that could have happened. I was able meet so many downtown Ann Arbor business owners and introduce them to the tour ideas I had for the bike and helping bring more business to the small businesses of downtown Ann Arbor. It was fun. I could see the excitement in their eyes as well. It’s hard for me to not be excited about this business. I get to meet new and interesting people all the time, I get to be outside and not stuck in an office all day (I do have some office time), I get to have fun, and provide a new experience for people every tour. There will be 10-16 people on the bike every tour that are experiencing something for the first time, and I’m in charge of making it unforgettable. The best part about that? I can’t wait to do it!
Besides, I didn’t even have the bike yet! For the hills of downtown Ann Arbor I needed to order the battery assist bike. This means, when we encounter the bigger hills on the tour, I’m able to give the passengers a little more power with the battery assist motor. I also needed to figure out where the heck I was going to store the bike. Space is very limited in Ann Arbor, so there weren’t a lot of options. The bike was scheduled to arrive in mid-February. That was until it was delivered at the beginning of February instead. The storage unit wasn’t scheduled to be built until a week after. Again, it worked out in my favor because I was able to work on the bike at my house and take a test tour around my neighborhood with a group of friends.
Yesterday I met with Alana from Cadmium Design Studios to walk through the website and clear a few things up with the booking tool. At this present time, the site is being finalized and by the time you’re reading this, you should be able to head over to the tours page and book your first High Five tour!
Okay, okay… this may have turned into the long version! Haha!
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