Anyone who has ever been kicked out of a nightclub for trying to ride in on their bike didn’t really do anything wrong, they just went to the wrong place. The instructors at bike2thebeat are as versed in DJ'ing as they are in leading stationary-cycling classes, hosting their workouts within a mirrored studio that emanates a nightclub-style ambiance. Once students are comfortably situated atop their stationary velocipede of choice, they dim the can lights and raise the black lights to bring T-shirts, towels, and linen-clad ghosts to glowing fruition. Then they start spinning thumping tunes, swirling multicolored beams around the room and shouting out exercises and dance-like moves to create an intense, high-energy cycling routine. Routines vary according to each instructor's unique style, but they all deliver a calorie-burning cardiovascular workout. Guests have access to changing rooms, showers, and complimentary towels before and after every workout.
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.
At Pedego Electric Bikes, stylish cruisers augment manpower with 500-watt motors strong enough to propel them up steep hills. Riders control the bikes with handlebar throttles that can direct motors to completely take over, or fall silent and let feet or pet pack mules do the heavy lifting. Fueled by lightweight but mighty lithium-ion batteries, the retro cruisers come in a rainbow of colors and with different embellishments, from Schwalbe Fat Frank tires that fend off flats to the Interceptor bike's 48-volt electric drive system, which was originally designed to propel police officers up to 20 miles per hour for 20 miles per charge. The motors are latched to rear axles, where the weight of most of the riders falls, and disk brakes on the front wheels provide smooth control, allowing bikers to easily transition from speeding to cruising to hastily braking at tumbleweed crossings.
US designers and manufacturers specifically fashion the cycles to be powered electrically, with motors that draw their juice from magnets. Also free of plastic gears, which erode rapidly, the motors enjoy longer life spans that their conventional counterparts.