Retro-style bicycles prove a St George’s hit
A cycling enthusiast has launched a new rental service offering retro-style bicycles for hire.
And Lou Matthews said the St George’s-based tour business weRide had proved as popular with locals as with tourists.
Mr Matthews, who is also director of schools at the Department of Education, launched the business after he took up cycling himself a few years ago, and moved to Ferry Reach.
He said: “I took it up for better health — I hurt my knee playing soccer and the doctor told me to get a bike to strengthen my knee.
“I moved to Ferry Reach and riding around, I saw how beautiful St George’s is and how much we take it for granted.”
Mr Matthews said that similar businesses using the same style of bikes were popular in smaller cities in California.
The business, based in York Street and which started last summer, offers several tours lasting from between one hour up to four hours, with the option to rent a bike and take off unescorted.
Mr Matthews said: “It started slow, but as people got to know us, it got better.
“Our focus for last summer was to brand and grow our presence in St George’s. We hope this upcoming season to really make a dent in the market.”
He added: “What’s been the biggest surprise is the amount of locals that have taken an interest.
“A lot of locals have come in asked to take tours on our classic bicycles.”
And he said he had also moved into sales of bikes after customers asked if they could buy one.
He said: “We hadn’t planned on doing that — but we’re selling a few of them and getting some more new bikes in for the upcoming season.
“A lot of Bermudians will remember these kinds of bikes and taken an interest and asked us to bring some of these models in.”
Mr Matthews said the bikes were modelled on Euro-style machines, which can be fitted with baskets, and which are a common sight in places like Holland.
He added that an increased emphasis on health and fitness and the environment had also boosted pedal-powered transport.
Mr Matthews said: “You see more tourists renting bicycles rather than scooters. It’s easier in traffic and people come to get experience in riding bicycles.
“We find them to be safer, cleaner and it’s an authentic experience. A lot of people like to go down to the beach on them and have picnics.”
And he said that he hoped to expand to provide bicycle rentals and tours across the Island.
Mr Matthews said: “I toyed with this idea for about two years, but just decided to go for it. It’s a little different from things tourists are used to doing.”
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Ada Foggo (1928-2020)
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