Ken Szal, the guy who brought pedal tour bikes to Buffalo, is now embarking upon his first aquatic adventure. Ken has contracted with a boat builder company to design what he believes will be the first pedal pub pontoon boat in NYS.
Ken has already amassed the largest collection of pedal crawlers in the world. Now he’s setting his sights on the water. “My wife and I do a lot of traveling,” he told me. “I’m always looking to bring back ideas to Buffalo. I’m currently working with the Coast Guard and a builder, to create a 12-person pedal pub for the water. We’re hoping to work out a deal with RiverWorks, to keep it there. We already have two of our pedal pubs at RiverWorks, so we have a working relationship with them already.”
The pedal pub tours have been so successful in Buffalo that Ken figured that the next logical move was to take the concept to the water. Once the Coast Guard signs off on the contraption, the pedal boat will undergo construction. Ken is presently interviewing licensed master boat captains to lead the tours. He anticipates that this will be one of a few aquatic pedal pubs that will eventually populate Buffalo’s waterfront.
I asked Ken what else was new for 2017, and he told me that he has his heart set on expansion into Syracuse (his son operates the Rochester arm). He also wants to give back to the community in the new year. Ken really wants to help the incoming refugee population to acclimate to Buffalo. He feels that the refugees should have all of the opportunities that everyone else has, and should know that this is as much their city as anyone else’s. With that in mind, he will establish some efforts to raise funds and awareness for a community that he considers a new lifeblood for Buffalo.
As Ken’s pedal pub empire grows in WNY, he is looking for drivers for his land and water tours. As I mentioned, only certified captains can operate the aquatic pedal pub, but the street-dedicated vehicles are open to anyone as long as they understand the rules of the road, are dedicated to the cause, are social and love being outdoors.
It’s fascinating to think that it was just a short time ago that Buffalo was getting its first pedal pub. Now the pedal powered machines proliferate downtown Buffalo. Personally, I can’t wait to see the first pedal pub “beer boat” hit the water. You know that we will be there to cover that technological accomplishment.