Have you seen those new Hydro Bikes floating around the bay and wondered what they are like to ride? I had the opportunity to take a Hydro Bike class last weekend and I can tell you . . . it's a lot of fun.
I've been curious about the bikes and I found riding one was a great workout--and a lovely way to tour the Naples Island canals. LB Hydro Bikes is a company owned by Nancy and John Huntington, two of the friendliest people I have ever met. Nancy is from Minneapolis and John grew up in Torrance. Nancy said she moved to Redondo Beach and “married the boy next door” and I think I can safely say they have been having a great time ever since. John was in the marine (as in boating) industry before starting this business; Nancy is a banker with no intention of retiring soon, and “loves her real job.”
The Huntingtons started their business last June. The idea came from their friend Ray Buresch, who lives in Minnesota. John got hooked on the bikes when the family moved to Naples and thought a lot of other people should get to enjoy them. Their web site is easy to navigate. They have a great location (just below Khoury’s), and plenty of bikes. You can rent the bikes any day of the week for $20 per hour (all pricing information is on the website).
I think this would be a great way to spend the day, especially if you have visitors coming to Long Beach. You could easily bring a picnic with you or John and Nancy have maps with all of the restaurants that you can ride up to from the water. The bikes are easy to ride and very easy to pull up onto the beach. They have big storage compartments for purses or back packs and two big drink holders. If you have a group of eight or more, John will bring the bikes to wherever you need them so you could meet on Bayshore Avenue, for example. They currently have 13 bikes to rent and plan to purchase seven more, but will stop there to avoid too much traffic in the bay. The bikes are also available for purchase.
I took the Sunday Cougar class with Nancy and had no idea what to expect. What I found was that it’s a lot of fun and a good workout. It is not difficult to do, but you do feel the resistance of the water as you pedal. She took us through a class that involved pedaling, sprints, a short beach workout and some arm work on the bike (as you ride). It was an absolutely beautiful day and I anticipate that most people will enjoy the experience.
The class has all the benefits of a low impact workout (easy on the joints) while the resistance of the water creates a great muscle workout AND you are getting a cardiovascular workout by riding the bike. I thought I was going to go fast when it was time to sprint but as you push harder in the water it pushes back harder against you, making you feel like you are actually slowing down as you try to pedal faster. As I said, the class is fun and some classes are more challenging than others. This one was on the easier side and only one hour while the others are 1 ½ hours long. The classes are $30 each and John said discounts are granted for the purchase of multiple sessions.
John and Nancy have lived in Long Beach for 16 years and have three grown children. They have thought of everything when it comes to the Hydro Bikes. They have offered mommy and me classes where the instructor does a scavenger hunt for the little ones as they look for pirates, fish, sea stars and offer kids prizes for any trash they pull out of the bay (optional). Young children can’t actually ride the bikes (a woman in the class is about 5 feet tall and had it on the lowest setting) but they can sit on the platform and go for a ride. John encouraged us to try the double bike (where you each peddle your own bike but they are attached), which sounded fun as well.
LB Hydro Bikes is located right below Khoury’s. You don’t get wet and the scenery cannot be beat.
The Huntingtons will also be raising funds for a good friend of theirs, Matthew Thomas, who suffered a traumatic brain injury 19 years ago. Matthew will be riding one of their bikes all the way from Catalina to Long Beach on May 21st to raise money for traumatic brain injuries. His organization is in formation. It is called Positive Matters.
"He did his own rehab for the past 18 years using a HydroBike," said Nancy Huntington. "He himself visits and helps several people with TBI. You can see his story video under media on our web site."