10 to Watch 2015: The Pedaler

“Travellers want an authentic experience when they visit a destination. We are getting visitors on stylish bicycles to explore Victoria like a local.”

The Pedaler Business Profile Douglas Vancouver Island Magazine
Photograph by Simon Desrochers.

“Selling joy” is how Rosemary Lee and Paul Rayman describe their business, which runs guided tasting tours on bicycles. They have married two of Victoria’s most popular pastimes — cycling and craft beer — and created interesting routes to showcase the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods.

To satisfy the variety in their customers’ interests, they also offer culinary tours to sample the city’s best eats and coffee culture, as well as lighthearted historical tours. 

“People come back from a rental or a tour and they’re giddy,” Lee says. “When people ride a bike, it changes something in their brain. There is some science about the effects of coasting on a bike as an adult.”

Locals are also becoming more interested in the tours and many bring visiting friends and relatives.

“One of the things we’re very proud of is that we show them places they’ve never heard of,” Rayman says.

Lee, an IT project manager, and Rayman, who works in film production, used their retirement savings to finance their passion project. Both credit its success to the support of Tourism Victoria and the willingness of other local businesses to collaborate.

“What we’re doing is only as interesting as the people we’re partnering with,” Lee says. “It is a reflection of how many interesting things and cool businesses are in Victoria. We’re just stitching them together by bicycle. Without them, the tours would still be pretty, but now people can taste all the wonderful too.”

Q&A with Rosemary Lee and Paul Rayman of The Pedaler

What scared you starting out?

Rosemary: Failing publicly. Opening a bricks and mortar shop and not succeeding.

What was your biggest challenge?

Rosemary: Designing the tours seemed simple on the surface but there were many moving parts. Firstly it was going around and talking to the businesses we thought would make good stops. They were used to people coming in buses or vans, spending an hour and drinking a lot, so it was educating them as to what it could look like as a tasting and an opportunity to tell their story.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Paul: People will give you a lot of advice and there will be a few gems. Listen to all of the advice and then follow your gut.

The Pedaler Business Profile

Type of business: Local bicycle tours

Year founded: 2013

Owners/principals: Rosemary Lee and Paul Rayman

Employees: 10

What sets you apart? We are actually getting more people on bicycles and showcasing why Victoria is a great place to visit — and why it is a great place to live.

This article is from the April/May 2015 issue of Douglas.