Rob Bennett calls it “divine intervention” that he found what he thinks will be the next big thing on Lake Norman.
Bennett, the owner of My Aloha Paddle and Surf in Cornelius, is launching a new on-the-water experience with Charlotte Cycleboats.
“We’ll be the very first one in the state of North Carolina,” he said.
The Cycleboats feature a high-top table in the center lined by five pedal seats on each side. There is also a four-person bench without pedals. Every boat will be chartered by a captain.
“We are going to be careful about bringing on the right personality to be the captain,” says Bennett, who promises engaging, skilled and entertaining drivers.
The boats are being custom built in Portland, Ore., and will be coast guard certified. Bennett hopes the first one is ready in time for Memorial Day weekend. A second boat is scheduled to be added mid-summer. Next year, he hopes to add boats to the Catawba River in Belmont and on Lake Wylie.
In case you are worried about the pedaling, Bennett says, “We can adjust the resistance. We can adjust how hard or how easy it is.”
The boat also has an electric motor for backup and emergencies.
Bennett says the regular tours will be ideal for friendly outings, birthday parties, family reunions and team-building events.
Charlotte Cycleboats also plans to offer several special tours including dinner cruises, history cruises and even spin classes. While the company is already taking ticket orders for the first round of beer and wine cruises, Bennett says, “Drinking and swimming doesn’t mix well. So no swimming is allowed off the boat.”
Tickets can be purchased individually for boat outings or you can rent the whole boat ($490). Individual prices start at $45 per person except for the spin classes, which are just $25.
Tours, which range from 90 minutes to three hours, will depart from a dock at Waterstreet Seaport in Cornelius, less than one mile from Birkdale.
Anyone who has spent a lazy Saturday afternoon on Lake Norman won’t be surprised that the biggest question Charlotte Cycleboats gets asked is, “What about a bathroom?”
Riders are encouraged to go before they board but they do have a pop up private portable toilet available if necessary. That’s a relief to anyone who has spent the afternoon on Lake Norman.
For more information, go to www.charlottecycleboats.com.
Photos: Charlotte Cycleboats