In Travel & Visitors Guide

All pedal, one steers.

Seven Seat Bike Tours take riders 'round the city

There are a plethora of vehicles that offer unique ways to explore Milwaukee, from the Pedal Tavern to a Segway to a seven-seat bike.

Shlomo Levin is the owner of Milwaukee Seven Seat Bike Tours, a seasonal business that takes riders on city adventures via a "conference bike."

Conference bikes are basically circular bicycles that seat seven people. The round bikes were invented by Eric Staller, a self-described bicycle artist living in San Francisco.

"Everyone pedals and one person steers," says Levin.

Levin purchased his first conference bike – he now owns two – about 6 years ago.

"I saw a used one for sale on eBay and right at that moment I knew it was something fun, social and exciting that I wanted to bring to our community," he says.

Levin offers two different tours, which begin on Saturday, May 9 and have various times and dates throughout the summer and fall.

"The Ghastly History of the East Side" pedals through Lake Park and riders learn about some of the eerie events that took place there.

"The tour gives you a new perspective on the neighborhood," says Levin. "Like did you know there are human remains under Lake Park or that the site of St. Mary's Hospital is where incorrigible girls used to be brought to be prepared for 'honest and useful lives?'"

This year, Levin will also host a food tour of the Third Ward. Riders will cruise through the historic neighborhood and stop at five eateries – three for food and two for dessert – to sample their signature menu items.

"During the ride we'll learn fun facts about the stages of the Third Ward's development and its colorful history," says Levin. "We'll sample such signature dishes as sushi, bruschetta, eggplant fries, calamari and empanadas. Desserts may be salted caramel or whiskey ice cream or designer chocolate truffles."

The cost of the "Ghastly History of The East Side" tour is $50 per person. The Third Ward food tour is $55.

The bike tours are weather pending. Levin says they will take place during light rain, but in the case of harsher weather conditions the event will be rescheduled.

Children are welcome on tours, however they need to be tall enough to reach the pedals of the bike. Usually this means kids need to be at least 11 years old to participate.

Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the bikes, nor are they served during the restaurant visits. Bottled water, however, is available for riders.

Recently, Levin also added a non-bike adventure to his mix.

"Save Milwaukee" is a detective adventure for grown ups and a twist on the escape room trend. The hour-long experience is available to groups of four to eight people and takes place in the Marshall Building, 207 E. Buffalo St.

"It's a brain teaser, it's a test of your observation, thinking, and improvisational skills, and most of all it's fun. You'll be immersed in a puzzle where creativity, resourcefulness, and quick thinking are the ways to win," says Levin. "Instead of sitting next to someone and watching a show, here you'll be working together to solve riddles, find clues and save Milwaukee."

Levin has lived in Milwaukee for 11 years.

"I've always been drawn to things that are fun and entertaining," he says.

He operated a business a decade ago called the Butterfly Funhouse – a traveling butterfly flight room built into a trailer that still visits county fairs in the summer.

"Live butterflies fly free and land on visitor's hands, faces and clothing," he says.

Milwaukee Seven Seat Bike Tours is Levin's second business.

"It's all about friends and fun," he says. "If you come with a group you'll share the experience riding in a circle together. If you come alone you'll meet new people on the bike."

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