A multipassenger brewery-and-sightseeing tour bike powered by the tourists who hop on board and pedal to and from their destination is coming to downtown Vancouver.
Michael Palensky and his wife, Maureen, plan to launch Couve Cycle in April. Palensky, a Vancouver native and former disc jockey, said he was inspired to bring the big bike to downtown Vancouver after seeing the city’s growth, from the expanded farmers market to the ever-increasing number of taprooms.
“It just seems to be a hub for new entertainment businesses,” he said.
Palensky purchased the $50,000 bike from a company in Arizona a year ago. He bore that cost but launched an Indiegogo funding campaign over the weekend in hopes of raising money to ship the bike to Vancouver, pay for a storage container to house the big bike, buy optional helmets for passengers, make a down payment on another bike and more. He said he hopes to place an order for a second bike soon, since they take about a year to build.
As of Monday, Palensky had raised over $3,500 with the goal of raising $20,000 in 21 days.
Tourism promoters welcome Palensky’s new business venture.
“I think this is a great opportunity to showcase our growing brewery and tap scene,” said Carrie Schave, Visit Vancouver USA communications manager. Schave said Vancouver and Clark County have more than 30 breweries and taprooms.
Michael Perozzo, founder of ZZoom Media, agreed that Couve Cycle would be a good fit.
“I think it’s great and I think it’s the prime time to launch. Everything in downtown Vancouver is growing and it’s exciting. I think folks from the other side of the river are starting to recognize that there’s good beer on this side of the river and they’re headed this way.”
Palensky said he and his wife first rode a multipassenger bike in 2012 and said the business idea has been in the back of his mind ever sense. He’s a stay-at-home dad with a master’s degree in audiology who owned his own disc jockeying business for about 20 years. Maureen “Mo” Palensky is an emergency room nurse and co-owner of Couve Cycle.
Michael Palensky will do most of the tours himself, although he plans to hire some guides to help out. He’ll give riders the option of picking their music. But he can set the tunes himself, or riders can go without the music.
Palensky said he didn’t have to get special permitting with the city or state, but that he might have to get a parking permit. He plans to store the cycle outside a local taproom, centrally located between downtown and Uptown.
For a two-hour tour, groups can hire the whole bike, which seats up to 14 people, for between $325 and $375. The bike will make two to three stops. An individual ride will cost between $23 to $30 a person. Palensky — or a future employee — will always be on the bike as the main driver.
The bike will likely start with mostly pub and brewery tours but Palensky said there is no limit on the types of tours it can take. Routes will be tailored to the pedalers’ desire, but Palensky will give some options. The bikes will have an electric assist for that “added oomph” to get up the hills, he said.
Perozzo, whose company ZZoom Media created a Brewcouver Passport to showcase Vancouver-based brewers, said he thinks Couve Cycle will do well in Vancouver.
“I think it’s definitely viable on this side of the river,” he said. “I’m excited about it because I just keep seeing Vancouver more and more starting to take on its own personality and become it’s own destination.”