Downtown booming with party bikes

Illustration by Madison Cohen

The collection of four-wheeled, high occupancy bikes seen around downtown Flagstaff are often called party bikes because riders are seen going from local stores, restaurants and bars while having a great time. These bikes typically fit between seven and 14 passengers and each person pedals to power the vehicle. For those new to Flagstaff, the bikes are a way to explore and learn about the city by taking tours downtown.

The most entertaining tours tend to be the ones offered on the party bikes through locally owned and operated companies, like AZ Segway and Pedal Tours. It offers pub crawls and family friendly tours on party bikes — there is truly something for everyone.

AZ Segway offers a variety of tours, including restaurants and bars, and a “Historic Downtown Tour” that takes passengers through downtown and the surrounding areas, including the NAU campus. The tours through AZ Segway tours can be taken on Segways, individual bikes or the party bikes.

The company is on a bring-your-own-beverage policy. Riders are allowed to bring alcoholic beverages as long as they are not straight liquor or in a glass bottle. Food and coolers are also allowed.

One of the most common questions the owner of AZ Segway is asked is if the bikes are actually pedal-powered. The answer is yes. Riders get to have an amazing experience learning about Flagstaff while also getting a quick workout.

Blake Nabours, owner of AZ Segway and Pedal Tours, said there are conceptions of party bikes and how they might be different than imagined.

“During the ride, everyone says, ‘Oh my God, this is hard,’ and then once we’re finished they always say, ‘Oh my God, that was so much fun,’” Nabours said.

Twenty-first birthdays in Flagstaff are commonly celebrated with one’s first legal drink. Taking a pub crawl tour through downtown is a starting point. Junior Blake Hodson decided to spend his 21st birthday going on a party bike pub crawl.

“It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in Flagstaff,” Hodson said. “I think everything went perfectly.”

Of course, the party bikes are great for a night on the town but they are also great for different kinds of tours. AZ Segway and Pedal Tours offers haunted and historic tours, where riders are taken on a one-hour-guided trip through downtown.

The tours are not only for the city’s newcomers. Nabours said Flagstaff natives who have taken this tour often learn something new along the way. The tours are designed for riders to become enriched in Flagstaff’s history while having a blast.

The tour guides are also what makes the experience. Showing the group around and guiding the party, the tour guide is there to ensure riders are having the most fun possible.

Sasha Hales, who has been working as a tour guide for the company for five years, said the transportation itself is his favorite part.

“The mode of transportation is the most fun,” Hales said. “We do it all. We’ve got something for everybody of all ages that gets them excited.”

This just goes to show the true enjoyment AZ Segway employees get from hosting tours. The passion employees have for their work is shown in the enthusiasm they have when they talk about their jobs.

Nabours is a Flagstaff native and wants to see the city prosper. He said that understanding the community and culture of the city is paramount in keeping people in town.

“A major problem with colleges is the retention rate,” Nabours said. “I have a theory that if I was able to take freshmen on tours, that they will be more inclined to stay because they’d get a better understanding of what the Flagstaff community has to offer, rather than just what is offered on campus.”

The party bikes are one of the many exciting activities in Flagstaff, and employees at AZ Segway really put their hearts into making sure everyone who takes a ride has an amazing experience.