A couple years ago, Chris Coscia was on vacation in Chicago and he saw a boat cruising down the Chicago River. There were a bunch of people on board and it looked like they were riding stationary bikes.
“I wound up booking a tour and had a blast,” he told Trade Only Today. “The atmosphere and the views were awesome. I couldn’t help but think this would be great in New York City.”
The 30-year-old electrical engineer started doing some research and found the manufacturer of the vessel, Cascade Cycle Boats in Bend, Ore. Coscia talked to the U.S. Coast Guard office for New York Harbor and then he flew out to Oregon. He bought a cycleboat and arranged to have it shipped to the East Coast.
The 25-foot aluminum boat takes 16 passengers plus two crewmembers and a captain. The pedals link to a shaft that drives a paddlewheel on the stern. The paddlewheel can be set at different depths to increase or decrease resistance. “It’s a great workout,” said Coscia. “Usually people pedal for the first hour and then the gas motor kicks in.” The boat is powered by a 50-hp outboard.
NYC Cycleboats is based out of Jersey City, N.J., across from Pier 11 in Manhattan. The Coast Guard approved the tour route and supervised some trial runs before giving Coscia the green light to start booking tours on May 2. The tours go around the Statue of Liberty.