Bar Crawl Reimagined with Norfolk Pedal Tours
Let's Get Padaling: Jake Schmader readies the 15-seat touring vehicle in front of a mural in the Norfolk NEON District.
Whether you like to bike and brew, pedal and pour or cycle and sip, Norfolk Pedal Tours has you covered. The 15-seat touring vehicle is fueled by the cycling power of its riders and takes Coastal Virginia residents on a boozy, behind-the-scenes ride of Ghent and Granby Street bars.
Behind the region’s first-ever biking bar tour is owner Ronda Baucom and son Jake Schmader. Baucom boasts a wealth of customer service and management experience from her previous role as the owner of Color Me Mine in Norfolk and Virginia Beach while Schmader brings in four years of tour guide expertise after leading kayak and standup paddleboard tours on the Outer Banks. The mother-and-son duo combined their skills and love for Downtown Norfolk to create Norfolk Pedal Tours, now one of the hottest commodities in the city. “I saw a video of a group on one of these kinds of bikes a few years ago and it piqued my interest,” says Baucom. “Norfolk, particularly downtown and Ghent, are so unique and inviting we thought a bike like this would be a really fun way to explore and a great business to start up.”
Norfolk Pedal Tours currently offers two distinct rides along Granby Street and through the Historic Ghent neighborhood. Along Granby Street, otherwise known as restaurant row, pop into The Barrel Room, Brick Anchor Brew-House, Saltine and Varia for elevated bar bites, crafty cocktails, fresh seafood and unparalleled ambiance. Head over to Colley Avenue for the Ghent Tour and dive into Norfolk’s bar scene with stops at Public House and funky arcade bar Pixels Pints & Bytes.
While you can’t simultaneously drink and operate the bike, each stop offers pedaling patrons ample time to indulge in happy hour specials.
With her first two tours proving wildly successful, Baucom is now investigating future tour opportunities. “I really want to do a mermaid tour with photo-op stops at as many mermaids in downtown as possible. We’re doing research now so we can build in a History and Beer tour,” explains Baucom. “We are very proud of our public art and plan to offer a tour highlighting as many of those works as we can.”
Visit NorfolkPedalTours.com for information on cost, tour dates and more.