Al Herrera is no stranger to cycling. Before founding EA Bicycles, he not only established several bike shops in Colombia, but also raced for the Colombian BMX cycling team and trained with the Colombian road bike team. His enthusiasm for the sport is almost palpable, with many of his clients stopping by the shop just for some friendly advice. They also show up to purchase bikes by brands such as Pinarello, Raleigh, and Lynskey, and drop off their current rides for one of three tune-up packages.
Mark Toomey once helmed his own recruitment firm in Nottingham, England, on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest, but a disdain for damp winters led him to the sun-drenched beaches of Siesta Key. Since opening Robin Hood Rentals in 2009, Mark has persevered through what he calls "Florida's harshest winter in 30 years," during which temperatures teetered near the freezing mark. He equips visitors with rental land-based and aquatic craft that let them explore the area without having to saddle a horse or propose to a dolphin.
From its perch near the Jim Neville Marine Preserve, the company fits cyclists with a range of beach, mountain, and tandem bicycles; matches riders to a fleet of two-seat 49cc automatic scooters; and trains visitors to venture off on newer-model i2 LeanSteer Segways. They also let kayakers explore the local waterways from sunrise into the nighttime.
While stationary bikes implicitly imply immobility, ON1 Cycle’s RealRyder bikes are anything but immobile. Designed to engage core muscles in addition to legs, the stationary cycles tilt, lean, and gallop when kicked just like real bikes do. Certified instructors lead six different types of sessions that range from the music-infused Happy Power Hour to the intense High Octane course, which incorporates high-intensity interval training. Students can tinker with their own bike settings and choose how hard they wish to pedal during the adaptable classes.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.