Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Rovick.
Laura, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. After graduating high school, the sun, beach and beers were calling my name, so I made my way to San Diego. I went to the University of San Diego and received my BA in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. While attending USD, I was the social chair of my sorority and I also worked for a company that promoted local bars and nightclubs.
After that, I started my own marketing and promotions company. Through that experience, I was able to network and tap into the local San Diego scene- from bars and restaurants to hotels and conventions to liquor brands and the music scene. Upon graduating from college, I began working for 944 Magazine in advertising sales. I hit the ground running and was able to tap into all of the contacts I made from my marketing and promotions company to really excel in ad sales. I worked for 944 Magazine for 6 years and then moved on to other digital ad sales jobs and even worked for a niche tax company on the business/sales side of things.
In 2011, I decided it was time to start something new and on my own, but I wasn’t quite sure what. A phone call with my sister led to her telling me to “call those crazy bike guys in Minnesota that you always talk about.” Those crazy bike guys were a company called Pedal Pub, based in Minneapolis, that I would see around town every time I went home to visit. So I picked up the phone and as fate would have it, one of the business partners in Pedal Pub happened to be in San Diego that day. So we met up for a beer, I learned a bit about the business and decided to throw all caution to the wind and jump in with two feet. The rest is history…
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
That’s a joke, right? Its been a very rocky road with a lot of obstacles and challenges. We were the first company to launch this business in California, so we were paving new roads as we went along the way. When I first approached the City of San Diego they had no idea what to do with the business, how to regulate it or where it fits in with local laws.
City Council, Law Enforcement, the Mayors office and the Transportation Department all just directed me to each other’s offices. I decided that I was going to move forward with things and pave the way and will deal with the repercussions after (don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness, right?). After about 6 months of us operating, the city decided to classify us as a “pedicab.” So we had to work around this, make some modifications to the bikes- add seat backs and seat belts and then do our inspections and get our permits.
On the other side of things, it was challenging to find warehouse locations for our bikes. Finding something affordable as a startup, in Downtown San Diego, that has a garage door clearance of 10 ft (our bikes are roughly 9’5″ tall) was not easy. Luckily, a good friend from my hometown is in commercial real estate here in SD. He has been able to find unique spots for me that have worked out (shout out to you Doug Hamm)!
Social Cycle – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Social Cycle is a unique, 16-passenger touring bicycle, pedal-powered entirely by its riders and steered by a professional driver. Social Cycle currently hosts lively tours through Downtown San Diego, North Park, Pacific Beach, Little Italy and Hillcrest. We have also expanded into Palm Springs and Santa Barbara. Catering to both residents and visitors to San Diego, Social Cycle serves as a platform for socializing and having fun with friends, family and colleagues, while exploring local sights and enjoying fresh air and light exercise outdoors.
Tours are ideal for simply cruising the city, bar-hopping, corporate events, conventions, team-building, bachelor and bachelorette parties, singles mixers, family reunions, tailgating, picnics, progressive dinners, and even wine tastings — the possibilities are virtually endless, and stopping points along each tour can be customized. What sets us apart from others is our determination and grit. Since we have launched in 2011, there have been 4 other similar businesses/concepts that have entered the San Diego market and have disappeared. If you put your staff and customers first, things will fall into place. The hours have been long. There’s never a vacation… well, maybe a vacation or two, but not one where I have been able to unplug. I’m always working. It’s not easy, but its worth it.
What I’m most proud of as a company is a team that we’ve built. We are a family and we take care of each other. No one is above anyone else (including myself). We all get in the trenches and step up for each other and do what it takes to keep the machine going. We have team building adventures that have included a taco/beer tour in Mexico; a yacht party in San Diego harbor, Palm Springs getaway pool weekend; a ski/cabin weekend in Big Bear, etc I’m also forever thankful and grateful for the support of friends and family over the years as we created something from nothing and faced many challenges.
What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
Future plans include expanding our bike fleet and opening up more markets. I also get antsy and my mind is always running, thinking of new concepts, business ideas and what to do next. Stay tuned, there’s definitely more to come……
- Private tours are $192.50/hr M-Th; $207.50/hr Fri-Sun
- Public tours are $60/seat; promotions always running- contact us for our latest promotion
- Website: www.socialcycleca.com
- Phone: 619-210-0202
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @socialcycle
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialCycleSD/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/socialcycle
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/social-cycle-san-diego
- Other: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60750-d6759512-Reviews-Social_Cycle-San_Diego_California.html