In this new series, I, an introvert, decide to step out of my comfort zone and do things by myself in Birmingham.
Just a little bit of back story: I’ve been inhabiting Birmingham for about a year and a half and get out fairly often, but hardly ever on my own to events and new hot spots. This isn’t out of fear or a lack of independence, but I have always had someone to do things with in the city… Until now.
My boyfriend/best friend/roommate/errand buddy left for a research trip in Europe for two months, which means I am left to fend for myself considering none of my close friends live in the area. No one really ever tells you that being an adult means having to actually make scheduled plans with friends. It’s hard enough to make plans for yourself, but bring multiple friends (who don’t live near you) into the equation and you’re looking at a simple lunch date planned for a month out.
My spirit is too spontaneous for that, and I didn’t want my social life to suffer while I was essentially alone in the city for two whole months.
And that’s why we’re here right now. Instead going to work every day, coming home, and doing it all on a loop, I am deciding to go out and do the things I want—all by myself—just to see how it goes.
Birmingham Pedal Tours
With Birmingham Pedal Tours being one of the newest and most exciting group activities in the city, I thought it would be a perfect fit for a fun night out.
What is a Pedal Tour?
The 14-passenger Pedal bike is basically a trolley with a little man power added to it. Instead of a regular party bus, a pedal tour lets you be active, socialize with your friends, and enjoy a sight-seeing tour of the city’s hot spots like bars, breweries, restaurants, and night clubs. You have definitely seen these in other high tourism cities like Nashville and Savannah.
Going it alone.
I purchased an individual ticket about a week in advance, and the weather ended up not holding up for my original date. The owner, Jason, texted me and we worked out another date. Yay! Customer service on point.
I drove to Trim Tab on a Monday night, signed into the tour, and made my way inside to grab a beer while we waited to depart. At first I sat at the bar and played on my phone for a bit but realized I wasn’t fully grasping the experience. So, I put my phone away and sat on a comfy chair in the middle of the room. I struck up a conversation with a man about the brewery’s history and shared our amazement at how all of the little decisions we make shape our lives today. This night was already off to a fun start.
A few minutes before the tour started I went outside and mingled with others who were going on the tour.
Tip #1: Meet your tour mates before going on the ride! Just find others who are wearing the wrist bands and pop a squat next to them. Chances are you’ll talk to them again before the end of the night anyway.
It turns out that on a tour that fits 14 people, I was the only one to come alone. This really wasn’t a big deal because all of the people on the tour were super friendly, and honestly made me forget that all of the people surrounding me were essentially strangers.
We rolled out of Trim Tab with the perfect lead off song (“Thunderstruck” – AC/DC) and headed to our first stop at Hop City. We hung around the bar for about 25 minutes before heading to our next stop. The Peach IPAs on draft are a good way to stay refreshed.
Tip #2: Don’t plan leg day for the same day of your pedal tour. You will be a little sore once you get to your first stop!
Part of the fun is watching people’s reactions on the street when they see a weird-looking bicycle/bus pass them. Smiles and laughs are contagious, so the majority of people we passed got to have some free entertainment. Again, the music selections were great pump-up songs. Song suggestions are welcome, too!
Our next stop was hoppin’ Avondale. The only downside to doing the tour on a Monday was a few of the places we wanted to go inside were closed, like The Sour Room and Wasabi Juan’s. A few of us opted to go into 41st St. Pub which was nice and peaceful for a Moscow Mule and a full conversation.
Our last stop was at Tin Roof in Lakeview. Because I had to drive home, I opted out of a drink and got a booth with a few other tour mates that I hadn’t gotten to talk to that night.
Tip #3: Drink water between each stop. Luckily, you get complimentary bottles on the tour. You don’t want to get hammered or dehydrated.
Once we got back to Trim Tab, we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways (but not without following each other on Instagram and adding each other on Facebook, first). The tour guide overheard a conversation between me and another rider and said, “Wow, you guys got that close after two hours?!” Absolutely.
Doing a social mixer with Birmingham Pedal Tours was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I honestly can’t wait to round up all of my friends and share the fun with them.
If you’re thinking about going on a Birmingham Pedal Tour, but none of your friends are available, go anyway. You won’t regret it for a second. You just might see my smiling face on it, too! Going it alone in the Ham is an experience I think we all should have at least once. Stay tuned to see where I go next.