The idea came, as they sometimes do, over bottomless mimosas. Brian Beirne was talking to his friends at a post-brunch workout, and one mentioned that he'd recently had a blast in Nashville. They started talking about the "barcycles" there — basically bars on wheels that let riders pedal as a group, sipping (or stopping for) drinks along the way.
It was a casual conversation, but for Beirne, who runs his own screen-printing business, it felt like it could be something more. "That's the thing about being self-employed," he says. "I realized, 'This could be a viable business — and also a lot of fun.' And then you just go for it."
Which, yes, he did. Beirne's new enterprise, Cycle Saloon, launched last month with a fleet of two barcycles, each available for rental in two-hour blocks and capable of seating up to fourteen.
The concept is not new to St. Louis — if you've ever been to Soulard, you may well have seen one puttering around the proverbial island along with all those golf carts. But Beirne believes he's the first to offer the service in downtown St. Louis. He too plans to offer a Soulard option, but says downtown will truly be his focus.
"A lot of people just see downtown at twenty miles an hour," he says. "When you're drive by in your car, you don't really get a feel for it. It's really beautiful."
The company is offering a variety of routes — you can pedal the whole time or stop at various bars along the way. Or, what the heck, the stops don't even have to be bars. "There's so many fun activities here, and a lot of them are free," Beirne says of downtown.
So far, he says, traffic hasn't been a problem. While downtown is certainly faster paced than Soulard, on the weekends, it's often fairly quiet, and the wide streets lend themselves to cars being able to get around if need be.
And if you're part of a smaller group, or you're simply exhausted after, say, bottomless mimosas, Cycle Saloon has you covered. The machines have a small electric motor that can be turned on when necessary, whether it's to get you up that hill or just get you home at the end of your journey. You don't need to be fit to power the thing.
"It's about whatever you want to put into it," Beirne says.
For more information on Cycle Saloon, check out its website
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