What if you and your crew could cycle on water while drinking beer, eating snacks, and soaking in city views from a crazy new vantage point?
It’s real. It’s called Cycleboat, and one has arrived in Boston.
Cycleboat Boston offers pedal-powered sightseeing tours of Boston Harbor. It has pedal stations for 10 riders — with coolers for easy-reach-beers set up in front of stations — and can accommodate up to 16 people.
The boats, made by Cascade Cycleboat in Bend, Ore., are pedal-powered — but there’s also a motor, so just relax if you want. BYOB and food: pizza, wine and cheese, cupcakes — anything your heart desires. (Hey, you’re burning it off, right?) And Instagram the Boston skyline from the water.
We got the skinny on water-cycling from Mark Jacobson, general manager of Cycleboat Boston.
So tell us a little bit about Cycleboat Boston. Cycleboat Boston is a new company started by people with a long history in the Boston area — Paddle Boston: Charles River Canoe & Kayak started in Newton in 1974. [It’s] an active way to see and experience Boston Harbor.
Every Cycleboat Boston tour is led by a US Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain. Pedals are connected to a drivetrain that turns a paddlewheel in the stern. By raising and lowering the paddlewheel, the captain can adjust how easy it is to pedal. The boat also has a motor to help.
How long is the tour? Where do people go? The tours are about two hours start to finish; we spend about 90 minutes on the water. The tour focuses on the inner harbor, which has fantastic views of the city. Our public tours start and finish at Pier 6 Restaurant in Charlestown, and many people enjoy a meal or drinks at the bar after the tour. But for our private charters, we pick people up and drop them off all over the city.
Is this year-round, or seasonal? We plan to run at least through Columbus Day, and after that we’ll see how the weather goes. We will put the boat back in the water in April and be ready to go again next May.
What do you like about it, personally? Being out on the Cycleboat is much more social than being in your own kayak or paddleboard. Everyone pedals as much or as little as they like, and no one gets left behind. I never get tired of the views and [even on] really hot days, there’s always a breeze.
Do you do night tours? Yes, as the days have been getting shorter, we’ve been booking the City Lights Tour. When you’re out in the harbor in the middle of the day, it’s like those old Richard Scarry books with every type of boat zipping around doing something different. At night, things quiet down, and it feels like we have the place to ourselves with the city lights sparkling all around us.
Can kids go? Yes, kids of any age are welcome on a private charter, and kids ages 6 and up are welcome on public tours.
Do you have to be in good shape to do it? The number one thing people say at the end is it was easier than they expected. The pedal moves very smoothly and 10 people pedaling [lightly] can really move the boat along. If a group wants to relax, the captain just adds a bit more assist from the motor. It’s not like a spin class . . . but sort of a nice walk on the water with your friends.