Q&A with Dusty Wymer, co-owner of Cycle Tavern
Dusty Wymer and his wife Dana first learned about the 16-person bicycle, known around town as the Cycle Tavern, when they were visiting family in Minneapolis. Wymer's sister-in-law had regaled him with a story about a great time she had at a bachelorette party "riding on this contraption."
Wymer and his wife became immediately interested in starting their own business offering large group bike tours in Columbus. And in 2009, the Cycle Tavern was born - the first of its kind in the city. The Cycle Tavern differentiates from other multi-person bikes with its European design - including a barrel to house a keg and a tap on it. While drinking while on the Cycle Tavern on public streets is illegal, it's still a good time.
We do two different things - special occasions and corporate team building. Special occasions include bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays, graduations, and then any kind of corporate team building.
We have three different tour options. Our garage is on the north end of the Short North. So we usually start from there, go all the way through the Short North down through the Arena District and come back up. That usually takes about two hours if you stop at a few different bars. The other option we have is to go to some of the bars off High Street, like Seventh Son [Brewing Co.] or St. James Tavern. Then we also have the ability to go to [South] Campus Gateway. The longest tour we usually book is three hours.
[Tours] are charged by the hour. Right now we're doing a special where the weekend rate is the weekday rate - $160 an hour. This bike holds 16 people, so … it works out to $20 a person for two hours.
We equate[the pricing] to renting a limousine. When you're in the back of a limousine with the windows blacked-out, people don't usually pay attention to it. With this, because you're sitting right out in the open, it attracts so much attention - everybody can see you riding on it and what a great time you're having. It's similar, but very different.
This is the only Cycle Tavern, and it's the original one for basically the Midwest, Ohio and Columbus. We're the original here in Columbus, and we're using the original concept from Europe. This bike came from the Netherlands. The original concept in the Netherlands [is that] you're able to put a keg in the front and drive down the street.
We get a lot of push back from people who say it doesn't seem like that much fun because you can't drink on the bike. The reality of the situation is the Short North is a compact area, and there are bars almost every other storefront. So if you were to start a beer at the beginning of the Short North, you wouldn't be able to finish it before you got to the next bar. Yes, it would be nice, but we've never had somebody get off the tour and say they didn't have a good time because they couldn't drink on the bike. Maybe if you were going from [the Short North] to German Village - but who wants to pedal that long? It's a fun way to go bar to bar, but you don't want to go on the Pelotonia.
I enjoy bike riding, and I'm pretty active into CrossFit. I also enjoy playing golf and spending time with my two young kids. They're only two and four, so they're a little young [for a tour]. My daughter likes to call it the big bike.
I was an Eagle Scout. It's always my go-to when somebody says, "Tell me something about yourself people don't know." The hardest merit badge to get was swimming because you had to swim a mile. I think it comes in handy every day, in every part of life.
Photo by Eric Wagner
Neighborhood: Lewis Center
Day job: Medical device salesman
Favorite bar on Cycle Tavern tour: Arch City Tavern
Favorite drink: Jack & Diet Coke
Favorite movie: "Point Break"
Favorite place to ride: Trails at Alum Creek and country roads in the Lewis Center area
Favorite bike (besides the Cycle Tavern): My mountain bike is a Gary Fisher, and my road bike is a Bianchi
179 Punta Alley, Short North