Red Lantern Bicycles is exploring a delicious side of Brooklyn with its new food-based bike tours.
The Red Lantern Roll Tours, which began in June, each have a flavorful theme that dictates their path. Saturday’s “BK Dessert Trail” tour had participants working up a sweet tooth as they rode through neighborhoods while tasting treats from local shops, like the Brooklyn Kolache Co. and Brooklyn Sweet Spot.
While city tours can scream “tourist,” trip guide Jerry Pura, 34, is aiming to fill each 12-spot group with New Yorkers.
“Essentially, I want this to be locals first,” Pura says. “I’d like this to be a way for people who live in New York to leave their apartments, their neighborhoods and blocks to embrace a broader sense of what living in this city is.”
Pura, who has lived in Fort Greene for the past five years, says he’s always exposing himself to new cultures and secrets the city has to offer. As an avid biker who’s constantly exploring new neighborhoods, Pura hopes the tours help New Yorkers de-plug from their phones and appreciate the “history, people and things that make the city so dynamic.”
“We’re exploring parts of the city’s food, culture and communities that you can get to on a subway, but the most interesting and exciting way to explore is by bike so you don’t miss anything on the street. There’s so many little things you pass by,” Pura says, adding that the last tour took the group past an impromptu percussion performance in Prospect Park.
The $20-per-person tour will nab you tastings at four restaurants across the borough. Tours never follow a typical path. Some can take you from the shop in Fort Greene at 345 Myrtle Ave. to Coney Island and back, but on average, you’ll complete an eight-mile path in just under three hours.
If it sounds too rigorous for you, don’t worry. Red Lantern Bicycle owner Brian Gluck, 37, says the tour travels at a leisurely pace.
“I will say, I’m not an avid rider. I’m a novelist and I was worried about being in shape for the ride but it wasn’t too stressful. We ride at the pace of the slowest rider, so it wasn’t hard at all,” says Gluck, who lives in Kensington.
Riders are encouraged to bring along water and sunscreen and wear helmets. While bikes aren’t provided on the tour, riders can rent one from Red Lantern for $15 for the day.
Red Lantern’s bike tours are expected to roll out twice a month through October.
“We’re going to run them as long as the weather permits and as long as people are interested,” Pura says. “The other week the folks at the end [of the tour] were exchanging email addresses and Facebook contact info, forging new friendships, which is really exciting. So, as long as we see that going on, we’ll continue to run them.”
For more information on how to join a tour, visit redlanternbicycles.com.