Social Cycle is a big ass bike that does pub crawls in San Diego. Biking and beer. Hell yes please. We met up with the Social Cycle next to the North Park Theatre in San Diego. Will, The Captain (heretofore only referred to as The Captain) was there to get us ready to roll. He checked our ID’s and had us sign a liability waiver which I didn’t read. I assumed it said it was on me if I got drunk and fell off. Once everyone was on-board The Captain went over the rules. They consisted of basic “Don’t Be an Idiot” type stuff. The big one was seat-belts. The city fine for not wearing your seatbelt on the bike is $700.
A few ladies on the tour let out a “Whoop, Whoop!”
The Captain cranked up the tunes and rung up the on-board cowbell. A few ladies on the tour let out a “Whoop, Whoop!” and we started to roll…kind of. The bike is heavy, and it takes some effort to move. To start the tour we were down a few pedal-ers, and pumping our legs trying to get this thing moving was not easy. I regretted not having a few beers beforehand to ease the transition.
The Social Cycle can carry up to 16 riders with 10 pedaling. There is a captain who steers, brakes and leads the day. You can rent the cycle for a private group or join a public tour in the Downtown, Little Italy & North Park neighborhoods. The bike has a functioning keg tap on it but because California state law sucks it is only for decoration. C’mon Cali! It’s basically a big, open-air limo right? As long as The Captain doesn’t drink we should be good to go! The public tours have preplanned routes that include about three stops over two hours.
You can’t NOT smile when you’re on this thing! -Thornton Dale
We got it moving, turned onto University & made a left onto 30th. There was a lot of traffic and we were holding it up. No one seemed to mind. Even the drivers pulling around us or stuck waiting laughed and waved. On the bike it was Party Rock Anthem and furious pedaling. Our first stop was Ritual Tavern. I was tired and my lungs burned. That says more about me than Social Cycle though. It was a sleepy Sunday at Ritual, and they didn’t seem to thrilled to see us. Social Cycle riders do get deals on drinks so we loaded up with beverages and hit the patio away from the peeved bartender. We were a mixed group of locals and vacation-ers. Most got tickets through Groupon, Living Social or some other deal then booked the day on the Social Cycle website. $30 seemed to be about average. If drinks were included we’d be willing to pay more.
The Captain gave us a heads up on time, and we finished our drinks. Ritual was a bummer, but as soon as we got back on the bike that feeling melted away. The music started up. We started pedaling. People started waving and seat dancing. The Social Cycle is a party. Our photographer, Thornton Dale said it best, “You can’t NOT smile when you’re on this thing! It was slightly downhill to Waypoint Public. Pedaling was much easier and we were cruising. The slightest of incline makes a huge difference. It was like being in a mini-parade. Kids were chasing us along the sidewalk, and people in bars were waving, smiling & pointing us out to their friends as we passed.
Waypoint Public was way more accommodating. We got beers, toasted each other’s pedaling efforts and mostly talked about how fun the ride was. I love beer bars, but if there was a way to just stay on the bike the whole time that would be even better (again, that’s on you California). We finished up and moved on to Thorn St Brewery for more beers before heading back to our starting point. In a navigational error, The Captain had parked us pointed the wrong direction at the bottom of a hill. But after a few beers and just being up for anything we took on the challenge like champions. 10 of us pedaled like we were in the Tour De France and the rest cheered us on.
Two hours went by quick. We rolled back into our starting point high on endorphins and beer. We hi-fived, took a group photo and said good byes before dispersing into North Park. It was a great way to get out, meet people and pub crawl. An hour later or so we were having a post-ride beer when we saw another crew of happy, laughing pedalers roll past. We pointed and waved, smiles on our faces.
Photographs courtesy of Thornton Dale.