The latest and greatest way to go wine tasting in Healdsburg is aboard a 14-person party bike.
The bike belongs to a 1-year-old tour company appropriately named Bike Healdsburg—a family-owned operation with deep ties to the community. Currently, the company offers eight tours daily, and four different options in all.
There’s a morning exercise tour, a daily history and architecture immersion, a wine-tasting and nibbles excursion and a bar crawl.
The one thing all tours have in common: They require guests to pedal (at least a little).
Though party bikes are popular in other cities across the country, this is the first party bike in Healdsburg. According to co-owner Jessica Bangs, the experience is unique because it fosters a group dynamic and enables visitors to experience the town together—whether they know each other beforehand or not.
“People are going to come to Healdsburg and do these kinds of tours anyway, so they might as well just do them on a bike,” says Bangs, who uses the title Chief Fun Officer. “You’re facing each other so it’s really conducive to talking as you go.”
All tours begin in the City Hall parking lot. Pricing ranges between $20 and $99 per person.
Without question, the two most popular tours are wine-tasting and nibbles and the bar crawl. The wine tour stops at three wineries around town. On most days, the three are Grapeseed inside the Paul Mahder Gallery downtown, Sapphire Hill, and Spicy Vines. Winemakers handle tastings personally at all three stops and guests receive charcuterie, brownie bites, and other delicious nibbles as they sample the wines.
The bar crawl, on the other hand, hits up four places in just over two hours; John & Zeke’s and Duke’s are givens, and the Bear Republic Brewing Company usually makes the list, too. This tour frequently concludes at the Young & Yonder spirits tasting room across the City Hall parking lot.
The other two tours are designed for guests with a taste for the outdoors, history and culture. The exercise tour is an hour-long pedal session that rides from the heart of town across the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge and back; the history and architecture tour winds around town and ends at the Healdsburg Museum so guests can get a closer look at some local artifacts.
“A bike of this size is a great way to learn about the city,” says Bangs, who will change her surname to Pilling when she marries co-owner Chris Pilling next month. “You can see everything!”
While wine and food are included in the price of the wine-tasting tour, guests must buy drinks separately on the bar crawl. You can’t drink onboard the bike (the City of Healdsburg doesn’t allow for guests to drink or smoke on the bike in between stops) – a real bummer since the bike looks like a bar on wheels.
With all these options to imbibe, it’s always reassuring to know the bike has a motor for when guests get overheated—or just plain drunk—and that the average speed of the bike rarely exceeds 5 mph (with motor, it sometimes gets up to 8mph).
For more information or to see videos of the party bus in action, visit bikehealdsburg.com.