Nashville, New Orleans and other cities across the country have them roaming their downtowns and now the Coast has its own Mississippi Party Bike.
“It’s definitely an attention getter,” said Josh Brashear, who works at a local bank during the day and drives his Party Bike in downtown Gulfport on weekends.
He and his wife, Erin, saw one of these electric rides when they honeymooned in Nashville and decided they needed to bring the attraction to the Coast, he said.
They had it custom built during the winter, complete with a cover for shade, cup holders, LED lights, an audio system with speakers and jacks to charge cell phones.
The open-air buggy is like a golf cart on steroids — with a spin. Bicycle seats that face each other behind the driver have pedals for those who want to participate in the propulsion, although it’s not necessary.
The Party Bike seats 15 and is a hybrid, operating totally on pedal power, completely with electric or a combination of the two.
What’s the deal?
“The whole idea behind this is to get folks to experience downtown,” Brashear said. Instead of parking and going to just one bar or restaurant, riders on the Party Bike get to explore the downtown with a group they know or just met.
It’s amazing how lively is the interaction between the people on the sidewalks and the people riding the bike, he said.
He provides non-alcoholic beverages. He also partners with local restaurants and bars for special promotions like a pub crawl that stops at four bars, with one beer at each place included in the price. The appetizer ride has two stops and an appetizers and a beer included at each.
Brashear changes out the restaurants and he said business owners are starting to see he brings customers to them who might not go there on their own.
He typically picks up near Fishbone Alley or Lighthouse Park in Gulfport during the day and night on Saturdays plus Friday and Sunday evenings.
The cost of a regular tour is $20 a seat or $300 for the whole bike, and he hosts special events like birthday and bachelorette parties. Rides can be booked online or his cell phone number is posted on the party bike and people who see him roll by can call and ask him to stop and pick them up if there’s room.
Although he has the capability to narrate, he most often asks riders what kind of music they want to hear and pulls up a playlist on Amazon Music.
This is a sideline job for Brashear, who within the last few years was married, finished his MBA, got a job, had a baby and started this new business. He hopes to expand to a second location early next year and already has a license in Ocean Springs.
“Eventually I’d love to do Bay St. Louis and Biloxi,” he said