All Aboard: Ebird Express Offers Pedal Cars

All Aboard: Ebird Express Offers Pedal Cars
Vehicle: Ebird Express is a pedal car that takes people on a riding tour of Glendale, making various stops along the way. (Photo by David Sprague)

Pedal car operator Ebird Express is hoping its unique offering will lure people for everything from bachelorette parties to team-building events.

Formed almost exactly a year ago, Ebird takes groups of people via pedal car on a riding tour to any of about 90 venues in the Jewel City, Glendale. Given that the business caters to celebrations and parties, these venues tend to be bars and breweries, and the vehicle allows the guests to enjoy the party without having to get behind the wheel.

Founder and Chief Executive Chris Earley, a retired firefighter, said he ended up on a similar pedal car while attending a trade show in Nashville and enjoyed the experience.

“I wanted to bring something like that to Glendale,” he said. “We have nothing like that in our vicinity.”

Earley started the business with two of the carts, which are maneuvered by employees and pedaled by anyone on the cart who cares to; there is a small motor to assist on brief inclines. You’ll be hard-pressed to miss them, whether it’s on account of the well-lit and colorful frames or a well-hydrated partier belting out their chosen tunes on the karaoke machine. The seats all have retractable seatbelts, and the cars have handrails and ample reflectors. An employee serving as a safety liaison is also on all rides. Up to 15 people can be seated on a car.

Bookings come with an onboard cooler stocked with water bottles, and on three-hour tours, guests can stash a limited number of their own beverages in there. That might not be necessary, though – each stop offers deals such as buy one-get one, discounted second drinks or a free shot with a first drink. Ebird also provides optional helmets should a passenger want one.

“It’s been pretty smooth, and we’ve had no issues,” Earley said. “We have more than the standard for safety regulations.”

Bike tour options

Ebird books tours for one, two or three hours at a time. It offers, among others, pizza parties for kids, bachelor and bachelorette parties, company parties and team-building outings. Religious groups also sometimes rent the pedal cars to do church songs along their chosen routes. Prices range from $300 for a one-hour tour and $525 for the VIP three-hour tours; there are also custom route-making options that run up to $595 for three hours.

Earley said he’s also aiming to have other themed offerings, such as a Taco Tuesday route and holiday pub crawls.

“You name it, we’ll create it,” he said.

Frequent bar stops include Glendale Tap, the neighbor Paperback Brewing Co., Gold Rail Bar and Golden Road Brewing. Earley said Glendale is a good city for Ebird because of how flat the southern half of the city is and the variety of eateries and bars he can partner with to create routes.

“The partnerships have been great,” he said. “It’s free advertising for them, and people not familiar with Glendale tend to come back and check it out. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Chris Cesnek and Brandon Monroe, the co-owners of Paperback Brewing, said having Ebird frequent their taproom has been a fun experience for them. The brewery neighbors Glendale Tap, a popular bottle shop and craft bar known for its wide variety of brews.

“Ebird Express has been a great partner for Paperback Brewing, offering beer enthusiasts and partygoers a fun-filled way to explore Glendale’s exciting craft beer scene,” Cesnek said.

Ebird has two pedal cars now and is having two more built; each one costs between $70,000 and $100,000 to build. Earley said he plans to expand to Pasadena and also to Orlando, Florida. He’s exploring a potential North Hollywood expansion as well, and added Burbank is probably too hilly to work.

“People see it and think, ‘How cool, I can’t believe they’re going to allow this in the city of Glendale.’ We’ve really had no issues,” he added. “That’s the thing about Glendale. There are tons of hidden gems. They’ve got so many things to do here. And we have a great police department that keeps the city safe.”

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