Birmingham Pedal Tours will open its new headquarters soon at The Battery, aka the development in the restored historic BEBCO building on 2nd Avenue South. Here’s everything you need to know about one of the most fun, out-of-the-box ways to experience the Magic City.
Inspiration for Birmingham Pedal Tours struck Claire and Jason Kobza while they were visiting friends in Raleigh, North Carolina. Or, more appropriately, it rolled past in the form of a pedal-powered party trolley.
The couple had recently made Birmingham their full-time home. They’d noticed the city offered plenty of restaurants, breweries and places to hang out and drink, but not a lot of activities.
“We were already pondering the idea of doing something that was entertaining and involved tourism. We wanted to show people around Birmingham and all the hotspots that we like to go to,” Jason said.
While other major cities already had pedal-powered tour buses or trolleys, the concept was brand new to Birmingham. Plus, the Kobzas went the independent ownership route versus franchising. That meant they had to work with the city to pass ordinances to permit their pedal-powered vehicles on the road.
Persistence paid off. Birmingham Pedal Tours began its first brewery-bar-restaurant tours in May 2017, bridging the gap between fun activity and transportation to local hangouts. Opening in 2019, The Battery will be the company’s first public headquarters.
Fast Facts: Birmingham Pedal Tours
- Everyone pedals. One person steers—that’s your tour guide and designated driver.
- The fleet: Two 14-passenger bikes with 10 pedal stations, one six-passenger bike with four pedal stations and one six-passenger bike where everyone pedals, including the guide. (The last option is the fastest.)
- Three bikes have pedal-assist, a small motor that helps.
- Birmingham Pedal Tours is handicap accessible. You can also sit at a non-pedal seat if you need a break, or if you’re too short for your feet to comfortably reach the pedals.
- The bikes range from an old-school trolley look to a tiki bar on wheels (Claire herself spent eight hours sewing on the thatched tiki roof).
- You can drink on the bike, too, but it’s BYOB—cans, plastic and paper containers only.
Getting To Know You
Birmingham Pedal Tours’ most popular options are group tours for birthdays, work outings and bachelor/bachelorette parties. But you can also grab an individual seat on one of the social mixer tours. (It’s super fun. Check out one Bham Nower’s experience.)
“It’s an excellent way to meet people if you’re new to the city and also see really cool local establishments that you might not find out about if you’re by yourself,” Claire said.
You might find yourself sitting next someone from Germany or Alaska, Nashville or Atlanta. Birmingham Pedal Tours is a big draw for business travelers who want to see the city.
“Usually, by the end of the tour, people are exchanging numbers. You’re working together, you’re pedaling together, you’re drinking together—you’re bonding,” Jason said.
Birmingham Pedal Tours offers two main routes: downtown and Southside. Every tour is different because it depends on where the group wants to stop to drink and eat. Your guide will point out all the options. Groups have even pedaled to Uptown for Topgolf.
Downtown popular stops: Good People Brewing Company, Atomic Lounge, The Collins, Carrigan’s Public House, Moonshine at Elyton Hotel, The Roof at The Redmont Hotel, Plum Bar, Pale Eddie’s Pour House, El Barrio and “pretty much anywhere on 2nd Avenue North.”
Southside popular stops: Trim Tab, Ghost Train, Hop City and the Cantina (Pepper Place); Parkside, 41st Street Pub, the Sour Room, Wasabi Juan’s, Avondale Common House and Saw’s Soul Kitchen (Avondale); Brät Brot, Tin Roof, SideBar, Lou’s Pub, Slice Pizza & Brewhouse, Babalu, Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Jack Brown’s (Lakeview).
Location, Location, Location
Birmingham Pedal Tours is still building out their space at The Battery, located at 2201 2nd Avenue South, but they can’t wait to move in. Check out the benefits.
1. Central Starting Point
As opposed to meeting people at Trim Tab for the Southside tour or Good People for the downtown tour, The Battery will be the central starting point for all tours. That will open up new route options for Birmingham Pedal Tours.
“Pies and Pints, for example, is an excellent location, but it’s in the middle of our downtown and Pepper Place routes. We could never incorporate that before. Now we’ll be able to,” Claire said.
2. Local Brews, Yummy Eats
Breweries and restaurants are mainstays of Birmingham Pedal Tours. The Battery will soon be home to District Brewing Company, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and Wasabi Juan’s. That means more options for riders at the beginning and end of the tour.
3. Foot Traffic
Customers visiting neighboring establishments in The Battery will see Birmingham Pedal Tours’ bikes in full view. Curiosity is bound to bring them over. With their new captive audience, the Kobzas can experiment with new tour options, such as shorter rides around the block or historic tours.
For an unconventional business, Birmingham Pedal Tours has found the flexibility they need in Ward Neely of SRS Real Estate Partners, the developer behind The Battery.
“Communication’s been very easy with Ward. He’s always willing to listen to our needs or suggestions for the space. We’re a different type of business. He’s been working with a yoga studio, the brewery and the restaurants, and these are all places that are very typical to work with. But we need a lot of different things, and he’s been listening,” Claire said.
Book a tour with Birmingham Pedal Tours at birminghampedaltours.com or call 205-304-8687.
To learn more about renting space at The Battery, visit thebatterybhm.com.