WINTER PARK, Fla. – It has handlebars and wheels like a bike.
But also a treadmill belt.
“This is the world’s first walking bike. There’s a kick stand just like any other bike with a control center where you can control your speed,” The Winter Park Bike Tour owner Brycyn Smith said.
Rollins College MBA student Brycyn Smith is partnering with Winter Park homeowner Jeff Noonan to launch a new business, The Winter Park Bike Tour.
“It looks odd and it definitely catches your eye and I thought this was a no-brainer to work with Jeff, who was looking to start a business,” Smith said.
Smith met Noonan at a garage sale at his house. She saw the walking bike and struck up a conversation with Noonan about potential ways they could use the bikes for a city tour.
The tours integrate health and wellness with outdoor entertainment.
“The Winter Park Boat Tour is tried and true, but walking, going around the lakes, looking for the peacocks and checking out the different paths through Rollins it’s really a beautiful thing,” Noonan said.
Riders hold on to the handlebars and take a few steps on ground to get the walking bike going and then step onto the treadmill.
“That’s the biggest thing, bringing that charm to the everyday consumer and allowing them to experience what we get to experience on a regular basis but on a walking bike,” Smith said.
The walking bike originated in the Netherlands by the company Lopifit, and will run you more than $2,500 each. The Winter Park Bike Tour currently has 16 bikes in its fleet offering tours on weekends for less than $50. The tour goes through historic Winter Park and parts of the Rollins College campus.
“We strategically decided on a beautiful route leaving from near the Alfond Inn, across Fairbanks and up through Rollins College. You’ll see the stadium and beautiful buildings of Rollins and then down around Lake Virginia past the beautiful residential area,” Noonan said.
The tours last about an hour with two guides, many Rollins students, who will share some historical tidbits along the way. You’ll cover about 3.5 miles, but you won’t get tired.
“You can go up to 20 mph on these bikes. It’s not just human powered, there’s an electric battery,” Smith said. “When you start to walk the treadmill the battery kicks in and the bike goes the speed that you set it to. Once you enter into neutral with the brake system, the treadmill will stop and you can coast along on the bike as you wish without walking. As soon as you begin walking again, it activates that battery on whatever speed you left the control center on, so they’re very unique and oftentimes people will ask, ‘Is that even real?’”
So what if you’ve never used a walking bike before? Is it easy to learn? Smith and Noonan said each tour starts with a quick lesson and trial in a parking lot before heading out.
“Everybody loves it, it’s a unicorn out on the streets of Winter Park,” Noonan said.
Smith said she is excited to see where this business goes, learning in the classroom and on the job as a business owner.
“It’s not work. I look forward every day to sharing this with the community and showing them the beauty if Winter Park that they might not get to see otherwise,” Smith said.
The Winter Park Bike Tours are offered Friday through Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a new tour each hour. The tours are available for ages 16 and up. Click HERE to book a tour.
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