LAKE GEORGE — The people who brought Tiki Tours to Lake George this year are looking at doing something similar on the streets, with a vehicle that includes pedaling bicyclists who provide the power.
Lawyer Greg Teresi and business partner Anthony Ali want to launch tours of the village with the 16-passenger pedal vehicle. All of the pedals are connected to a main shaft, which turns the wheels. The vehicle has no engines.
The vehicle has six bicycle seats on each side and four in the back. Teresi call the ones in back “the freeloaders,” because they don’t pedal.
“Our employee steers the vehicle, can apply the brakes when needed, turn signals, horn, controls the radio and things like that,” he said.
The vehicle travels at about 10 miles per hour. Passengers are on their seats, pedaling away, for five or 10 minutes between restaurants. They spend about half an hour at each of three or four stops, Teresi said.
Nothing in vehicle or traffic laws prohibits the bicycle from being in the road, he said.
Teresi operates two of the vehicles in Schenectady, two in Troy and one in Hudson. The charge is $25 per seat in the Schenectady and Troy locations, according to the website. Teresi said the charge in Lake George would likely be $35 per seat during the week and $40 on the weekends.
Teresi said the multiple-person bicycle contraptions originated in Europe and have started to catch on in the U.S. within the past several years. He is proposing two-hour tours. The vehicles are equipped with all the necessary lights, brakes and horns.
“What we’re trying to do is provide people with a unique way to get around the village, something a little bit different, a lot like the tiki boats that we launched this summer. We’re hoping that the village would be receptive to it,” he said.
Tiki Tours began offering 60- or 90-minute tours of the lake in vessels that resemble a floating tiki bar.
The proposal would call for people to bring their own alcohol, if the village permits it. The Village Board would have to waive its open container prohibition to allow that, however.
Teresi said the company's drivers always make sure that passengers who are drinking have safe rides home, whether it be with an Uber, Lyft, taxi or a friend.
The tentative plan is to stay off most of the main thoroughfare of Canada Street by traveling Dieskau Street, which runs parallel to Canada, except briefly when crossing over to Ottawa Street.
The tours have been successful in other communities, with about 90 percent occupancy each weekend, Teresi said. The vehicles get hired for corporate events, birthday parties, family reunions, college reunions and high school reunions.
“It’s a unique way to see the municipality,” he said.
Teresi said the complaint he has heard from passengers on the Tiki Tours is that there is nothing new in the village.
“We thought maybe we could provide a different type of service,” he said. “The bars and restaurants have been very receptive to it. It brings in new customers that they might normally see.”
Teresi said the Tiki Tours season exceeded his expectations, but he did not have specific numbers at this point.
If the board approves the proposal, he hopes the business would be running this spring.
Mayor Robert Blais said the request came in late, so he only introduced it briefly to the rest of the board at the end of Monday’s regular meeting.
The board would review the matter and discuss it at its next meeting. The next regular meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16.