Charm City Pedal Mill: “You Drink, You Pedal, We Drive!”

Charm City Pedal Mill!

Looking for something unique and fun to do on a weekend night, or any time in Baltimore? Look no further than the Charm City Pedal Mill.

You are probably wondering, ‘What is a Pedal Mill?' Basically, a Pedal Mill is a cycle with pedals and gears, 4-wheels, disc brakes, and a steering wheel like a car. It is powered by people, outfitted with 16 seats for adventurous riders to get it moving. It's a Rolling Bar. A ride on the Pedal Mill is a great way to spend a night out with friends in Fells Point and Canton.

Pedal Mills are inspired by similar machines in Germany and the Netherlands called Fietcafes. Amanda Linden, the owner and entrepreneur behind Charm City Pedal Mill, first encountered Fietcafes when she was living in Germany, spending time abroad.

Later in her hometown of Milwaukee, Amanda saw some people she had known in high school. Funny thing was, they were going by on one of these crazy Fietcafe contraptions. She started talking with them, and it turned out they had started running pub crawls around Milwaukee with it. “That's where I got the idea.” said Amanda.

So in August, 2011 she launched Charm City Pedal Mill. She runs the company along with help from a great group of dedicated friends. “Couldn't do it without them all,” says Amanda.

Using social media and a go-getter attitude, Amanda dove head first into getting the company started. After purchasing a vehicle, she went around to all the bars in Fells Point and Canton, told them about her Pedal Mill, and gave them her business card. “Some people were like this is the coolest thing ever!” However, there were bars that she never heard back from. Now with the success of the company and pub crawls, “Those bars are now calling me saying. ‘We really want to be on your tour!” says Amanda.

The Pedal Mill stops at about 10 bars on any given night. Tours will vary depending upon the time and day. Special requests are welcome.

Amanda is no stranger to the food and restaurant business, having worked in the industry for about 13 years. However, she longed for something more. “I didn't want to bartend, and didn't want to manage a restaurant. I had done that before!” she lamented. With Charm City Pedal Mill she has found her true calling, running pub tours in Baltimore. “It doesn't feel like work at all” Amanda said enthusiastically.

Amanda estimates that there are about 10 other cities that have Pedal Mills running tours, like her high school friends in Milwaukee. She emphasized that this is the, “First one in the Mid-Atlantic, which is kind of cool.”

For those interested in trying out this awesome contraption, it is $25 Mondays-Thursdays to rent out a seat. “You make that up with specials at the bar,” says Amanda. As part of being a rider on the Pedal Mill you will get a special wristband that lets bars know you are a Pedal Mill passenger, and that entitles you to specials. Each bar is different but you typically save 10%-15% on drinks and get shot specials. Tours are generally two miles long, which is great for working off all that beer and food during the night. (When else are you gonna do that, huh?)

You can also rent out the entire Pedal Mill per hour for $155. (Prices are a bit higher on the weekend.) The price goes down per hour the longer you rent it. People rent it out for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate events, and other special events. “The groups coming out are usually celebrating something.” said Amanda.

The Pedal Mill is equipped with a sound system, so you can bring CDs or an MP3 player and listen to your favorite tunes through the night.

You can celebrate all you want on the Pedal Mill. Lots of people dress up in crazy costumes, “We had a whole crew of pirates last week,” Amanda told me.

One key person who helps run Charm City Pedal Mill is Jason. He fills a number of roles, acting as the main entertainer, head driver, and oversees operations and maintenance. You can see him on board the Pedal Mill most nights. He emphasized that the drivers stay sober, like all drivers should. “You drink, You pedal, We drive!” is the Charm City Pedal Mill slogan. “Never had a bad experience on here.” said Jason when talking about what it is like when they take the Pedal Mill out with customers. Jason fixes the Pedal Mill often, and was doing an alignment when I went to check it out. “He is good with the mechanics of it,” Amanda commented.

The drivers consist of a fun group of people, who all add their special skills to the business. Kevin is an electrical whiz helping fix any issues with the lights or sound system. Jeff is very good with bicycle mechanics. Sarah is the only girl driver, “She's great, really really good” says Amanda.

You might think getting this Pedal Mill business started and getting the permits would be difficult. Amanda told me that generally the city has been receptive because Baltimore is supporting bike initiatives. She also mentioned that businesses are particularly generous in helping each other out. The company partnered with Wedding411 and some hotels to be featured in Where magazine (that magazine that is always in hotel rooms). In addition, Drink Baltimore will run specials for them.

Sounds and looks awesome, right? What are you waiting for? Go get a group of friends together and rent it! Then come back and leave a comment and tell everyone about your fun experience on the Charm City Pedal Mill.

Let the Good Times Roll!

Call (#443-956-6455) for booking a tour or seat. You can also email: charmcitypedalmill@gmail.com.  For additional info visit:  http://www.charmcitypedalmill.com/

TeensDriveSmart.com Road Show Rally Contest

Have you been trying to raise awareness at your school about safe driving habits?  Well then you might be interested in TeensDriveSmart.com Road Show Rally Contest.  What is the Road Show Rally?  The Rally is Teen's Drive Smart spin on a driving safety event.  It will include a road safety quiz game for the whole school, special guests, tire checks, and a $5000 grant for your school.

To enter you must create a video between 30 seconds – 2 minutes.  The videos do not need to be flashy, cinematic masterpieces but should show why your school deserves or is need of a driving safety event.  Maybe talk about some project your school has been working on to improve awareness or something you have been trying to get together yourself.  If your school has been unable to find a viable way to host an event themselves, explain why.  Express the desire and interest you or your school has for hosting the event.

Any students between the ages of 16-21 that attend a high school, college, university, community college, or trade school are eligible to enter.  Multiple entries from students from the same school are allowed!  Videos will be judged on a basis of three factors: creativity, poignancy, and need.  Once videos are uploaded they will be posted on Teens Drive Smart website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.

Even if you don't win the Grand Prize Road Show Rally and $5,000 grant for your school, two runners up will receive $2,500.  So a total of $10,000 is up for grabs!  The money is for promoting and educating students on safe driving habits at those students respective schools.

The contest ends on October 7th, 2011 and the Winners will be announced on October 11th.  Get out those video cameras and make a video!