Fraser River Bike Tours & Rentals finally opened on June 4. We had a busy weekend informing people walking by what that multi-colored box is all about. We had about a quarter of the fleet available but did not expect a lot of business since we just opened and hardly anyone knew that a bike rental and tour company had just opened in their neighbourhood. The bike storage cage was not ready yet so we had to store the bikes about a block away and then walk them over two at a time winding around corners and through doors. This week the cage arrived but will not be finished until the middle of next week so until then we walk the bikes. This is complicated by the fact that I just sprained my ankle. It is much better now but for that first week it was pretty grim.
When I considered what could go wrong in getting this building and the cage installed and then set up for business, I didn’t consider the multiplier effect. When the pod was delivered (finally) someone stole the coiled up electrical wire the night before and we had to postpone hooking up the power until the next day. That meant cancelling and then rebooking the appointments for the phone line, the internet, the banking machines, the alarm systems etc. etc. and none are set up to rebook for the next week, more like months. That was like kicking a hornet’s nest but we had a phone and an alarmed pod by Friday at 5pm.
The customers we had on the weekend had a great time and it was great to see families using the business, just like we hoped. We even sold our first season’s pass. On Thursday we had our first field trip. It felt great to have a flock of kids behind me in single file formation, twenty one plus a half dozen adults, as we rode about seven km with various stops where I spoke about the area’s history, the salmon runs and about the Fraser being a working river. The students spent the morning with our partner the Fraser River Discovery Centre engaged in an interactive workshop and then rode with us in the early afternoon. The kids and parents, even the teachers, had a great time and so did Debbie and I. She is the rear guide and I am up front, we communicate by radio, as we ride single file like a giant snake down the boardwalk by the river. We have another pilot field trip on the 22nd and between the two will layout our fall schedule and curriculum. We can handle a bus of sixty a day for these partnered field trips with the Discovery Centre or thirty if they come just for a cycling trip.
We also have taken several bookings for groups of youth from various summer camps on day trips. These should be fun and we are looking to book more groups of kids or adults.
Another week of pushing uphill to get the place finished and completely functioning and then I will be able to sit back a little and smell the roses. We are planning a Grand Opening for the June 25th and 26th and will be offering some real deals for those wanting to ride.
Although walking and standing has been a real pain, riding is wonderful and pain free. It feels like being healed, when I go from limping over to my bike and then flying down the trail a few moments later.