They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I spoke with the owner and it was just an idea, just a plan. A cycling friend of mine, Phil Diehl, bought a commercial bus and was going to outfit it for cyclists – for custom tours. He told me how the operation would work, how he was going to remove seats from the rear of a tour bus and customize it to secure the bikes safely and fill the front with 32 excited cyclists who wanted to go on tours.
“Cool idea!” I thought, and I didn’t give much more time to it.
A week later he showed me an image of the bus, gutted on the inside and painted on the out. I was in shock. This man wasn’t just talking the talk…. he was putting it on wheels.
A&P Cycling Tours was about to be born. Many of us talk about our dreams and it stays there as talk. Not Phil. He put feet to it. Recently I asked him a series of questions about this new business venture and here is what he had to say about A&P Cycling Tours:
1.) What made you want to start this business venture?
“I decided to start this business because traveling and cycling in new locations is something I love doing myself and it’s always more enjoyable to ride in a group, so I thought maybe there’s more cyclist that probably enjoy doing the same. I also wanted to do something bigger and better than what was the normal for cycling tours. Most companies seemed to be using just ten passanger vans with a trailer behind it. I figured if I was personally looking for a tour that I could include my bike in, I would want to know it is secure and be comfortable on the way there. There’s no better way to accomplish that other than a full size bus.”
2.) Can groups have private tours?
“Absolutely. If there are groups that want to privately charter the bus to go to their own destination in Florida they are more than welcome to do so.”
3.) Explain exactly how a tour would work from a clients perspective.
“The client would arrive to the meet up location which has been designated to be the downtown winter garden parking garage. We greet them, collect their bike for loading through the back loading hatch. They can then chat with friends and other cyclist until they jump in and select their seat, maybe behind an overhead tv or in another section so they can keep talking with friends. Once we arrive the bikes are then unloaded and everyone is briefed safety, call out commands , where we are headed along with the resting/ turn around spot. Once we are all ready we single file out and they will then enjoy the scenic locations along the way. Once we arrive to the rest location they will have a quick snack and rest at the turn around point before we head back. Once we arrive back to the bus the bikes are once again loaded back up. Once the bikes are loaded there is usually an area close by for lunch or dinner where the bus will take them and all the cyclist can take their pick as to what they want to eat. Then they will meet back at the bus at a given time to head back to Winter Garden.”
4.) What are the details for your next tour?
“The next tour is scheduled for January 7, 2018. We will be leaving the Winter Garden parking garage at 7am. It’s a 42 miles ride through Sarasota. We plan to start in downtown Sarasota and head over the Ringling bridge to Ana Maria island. We will rest at the Bay Front Park before we head back to downtown Sarasota.”
For more information, contact Phil directly at (321) 512-9099 or by email: APCyclingtours@gmail.com
I’m looking forward to when I can take my first A&P Cycling Tour!