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ConferenceBike Tours

Dresden and Munich, Germany

ConferenceBike in Munich

ABOVE: A ConferenceBike tour visits Munich's Marienplatz. INSET BELOW: A septacycle in Dresden.

ConferenceBike in DresdenThe ConferenceBike, or "CoBi," is both a mode of transportation and a conversation piece: As you ride around on a seven-person, pedal-powered vehicle that looks like a group-therapy session on wheels,  you'll enjoy the sights and become a sightseeing object yourself. (If you cringe at having strangers point their cameras at you, stick with a walking tour or the Gray Line bus.)

On a recent trip to Germany, I tried ConferenceBike tours in two cities: Dresden and Munich. Both experiences were fun--even for someone who normally prefers walking to bicycling--and it was easy to see how why ConferenceBikes are popular for sightseeing tours, bachelor and birthday parties, and even corporate team-building exercises.

How the ConferenceBike works

Velo.Saliko, the German manufacturer of the ConferenceBike, describes the tour experience as "seven people sitting in a circle around a table and riding a bike."

The vehicle (which costs as much as a small car) has a welded steel frame, four automotive-style wheels, and seven comfortable bicycle seats arranged around a circular handlebar.

The driver sits in the back, facing forward and operating the steering wheel and brake lever, while the six passengers (who face the center from different directions) have nothing to worry about except pedaling.

The ConferenceBike has only one gear and no coaster brakes, so a passenger who gets tired of pedaling can simply freewheel or take his feet off the pedals. (As Velo.Saliko puts it, the ConferenceBike is "not meant for racing but for fun moments in community," so don't feel guilty if you take it easy on downhill stretches.)

How to book a tour

Conference Bike signConferenceBike tours are geared to small groups, so the easiest way to arrange a tour is to get several people together (up to a maximum of six, or seven if you're doing the driving).

If you're traveling alone, it won't hurt to contact the local tour operator when you're in Munich or Dresden, just in case other solo travelers are also looking for a tour.

General ConferenceBike links

ConferenceBike by Velo.Saliko
The manufacturer's English-language Web site has an overview, pictures, a FAQ, and  a "ConferenceBike Rental" locator that lets you search for a bike by German postal code. (As of June, 2008, Germany had 40 rental or tour companies with a total of 64 ConferenceBikes).

Eric Staller's Conference Bike
The American inventor of the CoBi offers technical information, a movie, and more.

ConferenceBike tour operators

The first two Web sites below are in German only, but the prices and contact information don't require translation, and you can request an English-speaking tour guide.

ConferenceBikes Dresden
Hire a bike and guide in half-, one-, or two-hour increments. (I'd suggest a 60-minute tour, unless your group consists of ThighMaster veterans.)

Rikscha Mobil (Munich)
Rent and operate your own ConferenceBike, or--better yet--let an experienced guide do the steering while you and your friends enjoy the sights.

DonBikes (Berlin)
This firm rents ConferenceBikes, TeamBikes, and FunBikes, which are available with or without a tour escort. Rates are by the hour or day plus a delivery charge.

Back to:  Dresden Index or Munich Index

 

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