Wheel Fun Rentals (Big Lake Trail, City Park, 504-300-1289; 818 Royal St., 504-569-3330; www.wheelfunrentals.com) might be the new kid on the block in the French Quarter, but it is no stranger to the business of fun. "I started with Wheel Fun Rentals about 10 years ago up in Minnesota, where the business operates seasonally, but made the move when I was offered the opportunity to come in as a partner down here," owner John Fryhling says.
Fryhling opened the first local franchise location in July 2013 in New Orleans City Park after he identified a need for paddle boat, kayak and bicycle rentals. "It's been a wonderful relationship ever since the park council approved our presentation," he says.
He opened the Royal Street spot in February. "We always knew we would like to get into the French Quarter, and about six weeks ago we made it happen," Fryhling says. "It's a different world down here in the Quarter but we've been very well-received."
In addition to bike rentals, the company will offer pub crawls and self-guided tours.
Wheel Fun Rentals offers a variety of cruisers and tandem bikes, as well as the Double Surrey, which seats up to six people and looks like a golf cart crossed with two tandem bikes. Tandem and cruiser bikes are rented by the hour, half- or full day. Specialty bikes are rented by the hour with customers paying for the first hour up front and then in 15-minute increments thereafter. The City Park location offers both bikes and watercrafts including kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and pedal boats.
Business is first come, first served at Wheel Fun Rentals. Fryhling advises customers to come early in the morning if they are set on a specific type of recreational craft. A waiting list starts once the rentals are all signed out. Reservations are not accepted, unless it is a group reservation for 10 or more people on weekdays.
Wheel Fun Rentals also offers a membership plan. The $10 pass, plus a full-priced rental fee, gives customers 50 percent off all future rentals with-in a year.
Each rental comes with a map of the area, and suggested biking routes are mapped out in the Quarter. Fryhling emphasizes safety: All safety equipment, including helmets and locks, are included. Louisiana state law requires children under 12 years of age to wear a helmet.
"It doesn't matter if this is your first time or if you've been here 10 times, everyone gets the same safety instructions before they leave," Fryhling says.