By Carla Allen
Four-wheeled vehicles with eye-catching appeal will be rolling the streets of Yarmouth this summer.
Gil and Esther Dares’ proposal for cycling experiences was one of 28 to receive funding ($15,000) from the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team.
The couple also own Harbour’s Edge B&B on Vancouver Street but plan on renting their Surreys and bicycles primarily from a location in central Yarmouth.
“We’re not bike rental entrepreneurs. We’re citizens that just want to do their part to make an interesting visit,” said Esther Dares.
Included in their fleet are three Surreys (two two-seaters and one four-seater) with extra seating for young children; plus Juliett- a very “50s-era” bicycle with leather handles and saddle, three speeds, a skirt protector over spokes and a basket.
There’s also a seven-speed male version, Kilo, made by Viva, built in the style of a durable Danish city bicycle with 26-inch Schwalbe Fat Frank tires and a tandem bicycle referred to as ‘Hell Betty.’
The Dares plan on providing a map to their clients and encouraging them to explore the conservation district and streets with heritage homes.
Because of the steep hills in Yarmouth, the bikes have seven-speed Shimano gears. Customers will be discouraged from going on Water Street because of the challenging streets connecting to Main.
Their business, which is called The Wheelhouse Surrey and Bike Rentals: (902-307-7433), is also participating in an educational campaign – Share the Road.
“People are going to have to be extra tolerant. The Surreys are wider than a regular bike but they are legal (to be in a car lane),” said Dares.
Riders will be told to yield to traffic whenever possible. Those who rent the Surreys must be over 21 and must leave a valid driver’s licence with the Surrey operator during their ride.
There will be no rentals after dark. The Surreys will be $25 per hour. Rentals over one hour will be pro-rated per quarter hour. Other bicycle rates are to be determined.
In total, the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team provided $414,535 in funding to business operators in the region that were selected through a competitive process.