Posts Tagged ‘cycle pub’

The Party Bike business is a fun and unique opportunity. It is just in its infancy here in the United States, but well known in parts of Europe. In Europe, the sight of a beerbike is nothing new, whereas her in the USA, people will stop, laugh and take pictures when one passes by. But how are these businesses started? There are basically two options available at this time. You can opt for a franchise operation or you can opt to just purchase a bike and run your own business your own way. Atek Customs does not offer franchises, we only manufacture and sell the Party Bike and it is up to you to build, run and enjoy your own business.

What exactly is a franchise? According to, “A franchise is a right granted to an individual or group to market a company’s goods or services within a certain territory or location. Some examples of today’s popular franchises are McDonald’s, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, and the UPS Store.” goes on to state, “An individual who purchases and runs a franchise is called a ‘franchisee.’ The franchisee purchases a franchise from the ‘franchisor.’ The franchisee must follow certain rules and guidelines already established by the franchisor, and in most cases the franchisee must pay an ongoing franchise royalty fee, as well as an up-front, one-time franchise fee to the franchisor.”

The benefit to a franchise is typically its name recognition. Everybody knows that the golden arches are McDonalds. If you buy into that franchise, it is not necessary to educate your potential customers about who you are and what you offer. In addition, people know your product. A Big Mac is the same everywhere. McDonald’s French fries taste the same in Texas as they do in Utah.

The federal government considers most business arrangement transactions as either a “franchise” or a “business opportunity.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission Rule, a franchise is an oral or written agreement that contains each of the following three elements:

  • Permission, express or implied, to do business under a unified trademark or other commercial symbol;
  • Payment to the trademark owner or affiliate, directly or indirectly, in any form, including future payment, such as royalties;
  • Existence of significant controls or assistance (in some states this is defined as a marketing plan or as an ongoing commercial relationship between the parties).

A franchise opportunity is a long, lengthy legal process that is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. According to the FTC regulations, a Franchise Disclosure Document must be given to the prospective franchisee a minimum of 14 day before the final contract date. This required document includes 23 items of information and financial statements about the franchisor, as well as a copy of the contract to be signed. This document must provide information concerning the parent company’s financial condition, contracting, advertising, licensing, contract fees and sale of the franchise.

The purpose of this Franchise Disclosure Document and the franchise regulations is to provide the potential franchisee with a full disclosure of all information concerning the franchisor.

But simply calling an arrangement a “licensing contract”, “distributorship,” “partnership opportunity” etc. rather than a “franchise” does not always alleviate the parent company from the rigorous FTC regulations. Companies which try to avoid the FTC regulation by calling the contract something other than it is risk civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation of the regulations, plus a cancellation of the contract and a full refund of the franchisee’s money. Typically, multiple violations of the regulations occur in a single contract, therefore the fines can add up to a substantial amount.

If you have an agreement where the parent company exerts control over the business model and gets paid, you will most likely be considered a franchise and are subject to the FTC franchise regulations.

A business opportunity, however, typically exercises no control over the buyer’s operations after the sale. There is usually no continuing relationship, no obligations, and no continuing fees or ongoing royalties. A business opportunity typically does not limit the business owner’s selling area or restrict its operation. It also does not provide you with a marketing plan or trademark rights. Most business opportunities simply provide the sale of equipment and then allow you to operate your business as you see fit.

So which business model is better? It depends. Some people feel they will be more successful tied contractually to another entity. However, at The Party Bike, we have no desire to tell you how to run your business. We don’t sell franchises and we don’t require complex legal agreements. We don’t collect ongoing fees or royalties. We won’t tell you how to market your business. We won’t tell you who you can hire or fire. We won’t tell you where to buy your supplies.

We feel that if you are willing to pay $45,500 for one of our bikes, chances are pretty good that you already know what you want to do with it. You don’t need us to tell you.

We chose this model because we also do not feel that it is your responsibility to support us into the future. We will work for our income by building and selling the best bike on the market, not from requiring you to pay us a certain amount each year for the privilege of using your own bike.

So before you sign any paperwork from any bike manufacturer, supplier or distributor, consult a lawyer. If you are told that a particular written provision won’t be enforced, be sure it is deleted from the contract before you sign. If something is promised, be sure it is included in the contract. Have all paperwork reviewed by your lawyer. If you are signing anything that remotely resembles a franchise agreement, be sure that you have qualified legal advice and are complying with all franchise laws and regulations.

Know what you are getting into before it is too late!!


What is The Party Bike?

The Party Bike is a unique way to enjoy both the art of beer and the art of bicycling while being your own boss. Our bikes can accommodate 6-16 passengers and provide the easiest cycling experience of any beer bike.

Our full size standard Party Bike typically has ten pedaling positions at the bar, three seats on the rear bench and room for servers on the center catwalk. Of course, there is also a comfy seat for you, the driver.

Our standard Mini-Bar Bike offers six pedaling positions and one driver position.

Each of these bikes can be custom tailored to fit whatever your needs may be. We can add or subtract seats, change the configuration, add a rear barbeque, or modify the entire bike into a towable trailer. Whatever you can imagine, we can build it.

Do I have to Provide a Driver?

Most likely, yes. Due to insurance requirements, local ordinances and state regulations, you will most likely be required to provide the safe and sober driver for the full size Party Bike.

However, the case may be different for the Mini-Bar Bike, depending on your insurance, laws and whether alcohol is allowed. Check with the regulating authorities and your insurance company in all cases.

Who is Atek Customs?

Atek Customs is a subsidiary of JP and Sons, Inc., a family corporation. Jon and Patti (me) Pyland and our sons, Josh and Benj, operate the business in Bend, Oregon. Our third son, Jeremiah, is away at college. JP & Sons, Inc. has been a leader in the construction industry in Central Oregon for over twenty years. When the economy crashed several years ago, the housing industry evaporated in this area. Because we were also well known certified welders, we decided to change the direction of the company by adding Atek Customs, the welding arm of our business. Welding and fabrication, particularly on the Party Bike, has become the sole purpose of our company and we couldn’t be happier.

How did the Party Bike come to be?

Our original customer approached us with the concept of a building him a beer bike. He had seen one in Europe and wanted to open his own tour company here in Bend, Oregon. We thought it was such a great idea that we proposed to him to become partners and sell these bikes to the world. However, due to distinct differences in business philosophy, a partnership was not to be. We retained our original design and internet marketing ideas and started building the Party Bike.

He retained his original business plan and local marketing ideas to build a very successful local tour company operating one of our Party Bikes, known as the Cycle Pub.

Do I have to buy a franchise of the Party Bike?

Absolutely not!! In fact, we do not even offer franchises. We believe that your business is your business, not ours.

How you decide to operate your business is not up to us. We won’t tell you that you have to use our product only or that you can’t hire this person or that person. And you can name your company whatever you want.

Watch for my upcoming blog on “Franchising: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

If I Order Today, How Long Until I Get My Party Bike?

Because each of our Party Bikes are custom made to your specifications, they can take from 6-10 weeks to build. Obviously, the simpler the bike, the less time it takes. But you may have some unique ideas or modifications that you would like on your bike and we aim to please. Photo updates are sent to the owner throughout the build process so that you can see what is being done and how your build is coming along.

How much does the Party Bike cost?

The standard Party Bike as listed on our Options/Costs webpage is $45,500. This model is well equipped with everything most clients want.There are numerous additional options for you to select from if you so desire and custom orders are available.

Shipping options are extra, depending on where and how you want it delivered.

Do I have to Serve Alcohol?

No. In fact, most places will not allow you to serve anything. If alcohol is allowed by your municipality, it is generally brought by your renting clients, not you. Some of our Party Bike operators do not have the option to allow alcohol and must run “dry.” Yet, these dry bikes offer a fantastic experience proving that alcohol is not necessary.

To What Do You Owe the Success of the Party Bike?

The phenomenal success of our company is due to our clients and also to our competitors. Just as Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile and brought it to the average person, so too did Mr. Ard Karsten from Sightseeingbike in Amsterdam  revolutionize the beer bike industry and bring them to the average person. But just like Chevy and Dodge made changes to Henry Ford’s design to suit peoples’ preferences, the Party Bike has also made changes, expanded the opportunities and personalized the accessories to meet the growing demand for these bikes.

In addition, our clients are some of the most dynamic entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. Their creativity and passion make each of their businesses unique and successful. And the more successful our clients are, the more successful we are.

Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A. It is more than just a saying.  The Party Bike is truly made in the U.S.A. It is designed and built by Atek Customs, an American company.

We are a small family business located in Bend, Oregon.  My husband, Jon, is the lead designer, certified welder, master cabinet maker and all around “build anything” guy. The second in command in the shop is our son, Josh. He is a college student who was born in Bend and raised in our shop. All of our other staff are longtime members of this community. That means all of the payroll from our company goes to the local economy, not to another country.

The powder coating shop is owned and operated by a local guy, employing local guys. The steel supplier is a family owned business that has been in business locally for decades. The upholsterer used to live across the street from us and owns his own shop. The drive train comes from a locally owned small business that has also been around for decades. We get all of our auto parts from a locally owned auto parts store.

We get many of the miscellaneous items at local shops, such as the cup holders, water tank, water pump and rims. Of course, not everything on our bikes can be acquired here in Bend, Oregon. Some things have to be ordered on the internet. But whenever possible, we strive to buy local and buy American.

Not only are our bikes made here in our country, they also cost less!! We don’t have to tack on the costs of shipping across the ocean, nor do we have to allow for a distributor’s mark up.

What does all this mean for you? It means you can be assured your investment in a Party Bike is a sound investment. Your money is being spent in the U.S.A. by people who were born and raised here. We take pride in our workmanship and stand behind our product.  We will support you in your endeavor to build your own company operating the Party Bike.

Made in the U.S.A. It means something to us.

You have seen the ads. You agree a Party Bike would make a great business. Now what? Where do you even begin? Who should you talk to and what do you need to do?

Relax. It is not as intimidating as you might think. Because of the economy and the price of gasoline, people are looking more local for ways to enjoy their free time. They are more conscientious of their dollars being spent within their own community. The idea of experiencing something unique and unusual, yet fun and exciting, within their own city, is becoming more and more appealing to people.

In addition, those people who are traveling to other communities are looking for that same “unique and unusual” experience at a reasonable price. Let’s face it, how many people do you know who have pedaled a bar from pub to pub? Our goal is to see that number grow!!

So now that you have decided to become a Party Bike Operator, your first step is to contact Atek Customs to discuss the various options and ideas available on the Party Bike. What is the “look” you are after? Do you want bright and colorful, or are you going more for a muted “wood” look? What are you going to name your Party Bike business? Is there a particular theme you are interested in? Where in the country are you planning to operate the bike? Will you need water misters to cool off your clients?

Unlike other manufacturers, Atek Customs manufactures the Party Bike with a very wide range of colors as a standard feature. We want our bikes to look unique to you, not a clone of all our other Party Bikes. It is your bike and should reflect you, your business and your personal vision.

Speaking of vision, what is your vision? Now is a good time to really think about the name of your business. Your business name and the look of the bike go hand in hand. Factors which will influence your vision include the clientele you will serve. Do you intend to primarily target a college town population? Or are you targeting tourists in a large city? Are beach goers your likely customers or are they more from the craft brewery community? If you are located near a popular convention center, do you plan to partner with that convention center as an amenity to its conventioneers? Take a good look around your area and evaluate just what market is available to you and who your target audience will be.

One of the early steps in developing your Party Bike Operator’s business plan is to consult with your attorney and your financial adviser. You will need to decide on a business structure, such as sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc. You will also have to develop tax strategies and legal protections. While this may not be an exciting part of your business development, it is nonetheless a very critical part. As such, this step must be done and done right.

If you are considering the use of alcohol onboard your bike, it is wise to initially contact your liquor control board to get all the legalities worked out. In addition to the liquor control board, you will need to contact your local municipality, governing councils and police departments to determine what permits will be required and what limitations you will encounter. Most municipalities will welcome you with open arms, while others may limit the area in which you can operate. Either way, it is highly recommended that you contact these governing authorities very early in the process as their support could make or break your business.

These steps will assist you in deciding if alcohol is even feasible or legal. Once you have determined whether to allow alcohol, you will need to investigate liability insurance. This can be a difficult step and you will need the assistance of a very well qualified insurance agent to find the right insurer. It is not impossible, though, as many bike operators around the county have obtained insurance. We recommend David Fisher at Century Insurance Group in Bend, Oregon. Mr. Fisher specializes in Party Bike insurance.

Another important step in your business development is obviously the financial end. How do you plan to finance your business? You will need to budget for items such as the purchase of the Party Bike, for professional services, website development, salaries, operating expenses and advertising. You will need to think about what and how you want to charge. Do you have the money available or do you need to take out a loan? Can you operate the business by yourself or will you need partners to help finance and/or operate the bike? Do you have another job that you will need to continue with until the business gets going? What is your operating season? Depending on where you are, your busy season may be during the summer, therefore you will need to account for the slower months. There are many financial factors and decisions which need to be considered before you actually begin your business.

Another financial step is to set up a business banking account. Be sure that you keep your Party Bike operation and your personal finances separate. Your local banker can also help you with small business loans and other financing if needed.

Now that you have thought through and resolved many of the above issues, it is time to order your very own personalized Party Bike from Atek Customs. Because each bike is handmade to your specifications, you will need to allow approximately eight to ten weeks for its construction. You will also need to decide on delivery options. Your bike can be picked up at our shop; it can be personally delivered or it can be commercially shipped. If you need to transport your bike around your area, you will need to either purchase a tow dolly or trailer, or order a custom matching one with your Party Bike. These options each have associated costs which you will need to budget for.

While your Party Bike is being built by Atek Customs, you will want to develop your website, start up a business Facebook and possibly open a twitter account. You will want to investigate the other advertising options available to you and contact your local media outlets. Other advertising options may include Google ads, links from popular local websites, and Facebook contacts. Traditional advertising and press releases in newspapers, television and trade publications are also a great way to get your name out there. Merchandise marketing such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, bumper stickers, etc. may be helpful to you.

You can investigate possible route options and optimum stopping destinations. One factor which will influence your route and stops will be whether or not you get local sponsors. These sponsors can help provide needed capital investments in exchange for advertising signage on the bike, designated stops along the route, storage facilities and fun giveaway prizes for your customers. For example, if there is a popular local bar on your route, you might want to offer a guaranteed stop in front of their business in exchange for sponsorship dollars. Or you may decide to provide signage if a company offers you a storage facility near your chosen route.

Participation in grand openings, product releases, trade shows and local fairs will also provide opportunities to market your business. For example, if a large trade show for recreational vehicles is scheduled, contact the trade show operator and offer to provide onsite transportation for the fair goers for a reasonable flat fee paid for by the trade show operator. You will be providing fun and unique transportation around the fairgrounds for no charge to the fair goers while providing the trade show with advertising and a great customer draw. Another option for your business is local festivals and celebrations. You can sell to the promoters and provide transportation for them also.

But don’t look only for ways to make money. It will be critical that you become an active member of your community, and as such, you will want to find ways to give back to them. Special discount nights for military, fire and police department employees and other groups are important. Free rides during a community celebration are an option. Fund raising events where all proceeds are donated to a particular cause should be included in your business plan.

Start advertising and taking reservations as soon as possible. In no time you will have your new personalized Party Bike and you will be on your way! Doing something that is fun, exciting and unique makes going to work a pleasure instead of a chore. And being your own boss, seeing the profits go into your pocket instead of someone else’s, is very rewarding.  Before you know it, you might just need a second Party Bike!!


Why Do the Other Guys Want Me to Sign an N.D.A.?

There are not many party bike manufacturers or suppliers in this world. The largest manufacturer is located in Europe with several distributors in the U.S. There are a few small private manufacturers around, there are companies who operate party bikes and want to sell franchises, and then there is us.

First off, I am NOT a lawyer. These comments are my own personal experiences which may or may not reflect your situation. Please consult a licensed professional for legal advice.

Most of the sellers require you to sign what is commonly known as an NDA, but typically includes much more. These NDAs, or Non-Disclosure Agreements usually come with a Non-Compete Agreement and a Non-Solicitation Agreement.

First off, you must understand what these agreements are and then you will understand why they are not used at Atek Customs.

The non-disclosure clause may look somewhat like this:

Buyer will not use confidential information for any purpose without Seller’s specific prior written authorization, except Buyer may use Confidential Information to perform Buyer’s duties as an independent contractor of Seller.”

In other words, if you buy a bike from distributor Mr. Jim, you can’t tell Mr. Bill his trade secrets unless Mr. Jim lets you. Fair enough. If he goes to the trouble of developing an entire business plan on how to operate a party bike business, he has the right to sell his business plan. But you have the right to use your own brain and develop you own business plan. You don’t have to use his. If you are planning to spend the money on any of the party bikes available on the market, chances are pretty good that you already know what you want to do with the bike.

The non-compete clause may look like:

During the Restricted Period, Buyer will not directly or indirectly advise, invest in, own, manage, operate, control, be employed by, provide services to, lend money to, guarantee any obligation of, lend Buyer’s name to, or otherwise assist any person engaged in or planning to be engaged in any business whose products, services, or activities compete or will compete in whole or in part with the Seller’s products, services, or activities anywhere in the world.

After you buy Mr. Jim’s party bike, you can’t have anything to do with anybody who is even remotely associated with the party bike business anywhere in the world. You belong to Mr. Jim and nobody else. In other words, if you buy a Ford, you can’t talk to anyone who owns a Chevy. You can’t have Ziggy’s Auto Repair work on your Ford. You can’t go to a Honda dealership to look at cars. You might not even be able to ride in someone else’s Toyota. This sounds like Mr. Jim has some serious control issues!!

The non-solicitation clause may include something similar to this:

During the Restricted Period, Buyer will not solicit any supplier, service provider, customer, or other business relation of Seller to become a business relation of Buyer.

Don’t call anyone Mr. Jim knows. Call only Mr. Jim. You have no brain; you must use Mr. Jim’s brain. You can’t do business with anyone Mr. Jim does business with. You can only do business with Mr. Jim and pay Mr. Jim’s rate. Mr. Jim owns you. There is that control issue again.

At Atek Customs, you will not have to sign any of these types of documents. We want your business, however, we believe that we should earn you business, not force you through legal means. We want to sell you as many party bikes or mini-bar bikes as you want; but we want you to buy them from us because you want to buy them from us – not because you have to.

These legal agreements are intended to limit you and to control you. They breed cynicism and negativity and will cause you to lack trust and optimism. Our goal is to help you soar, to succeed, to be the best party bike company you can possibly be. Atek Customs will not tell you how to run your business. We will not tell you who you can talk to and who you can’t. Who you hire is your business. Where you buy things is your business. We want to build you your own custom bike that suits your needs, not ours. And then we want you to make your business your success.

If we are successful at meeting your needs and giving you great customer service, we don’t need you to sign an NDA. If we need you to sign an NDA to get your business, then we deserve to go out of business!!

Where can you consume calories and burn off calories simultaneously? On The Party Bike!! Basically, The Party Bike is a rolling refreshment (think beer) stand on wheels and you are the engine!! It is a group bicycle which is powered by the pedaling of ten people. There is also a padded bench on the back which seats an additional three people, plus room for your own bar tenders. Of course, there is a non-drinking driver who controls the steering and the braking, thus removing the “engine” from the possibility of getting a D.U.I.

Sound like a fun? Of course!! Instead of being a passenger, why not be the owner of the business? The Party Bike is manufactured by Atek Customs and is custom built to your personal preferences. You get to choose the colors plus add on optional items like the beer tap, solar panels, water misters, or just about anything else you can think of.

But don’t limit yourself to just amusing the drinking crowd. The Party Bike can be used at resorts, business conferences, birthday parties, wedding parties, as a tourist activity. Why not start a new career and get out there on The Party Bike?

The Party Bike