Fast Eddie & Riverfront Development

Developing the riverfronts is something we have long advocated and part of that development would contribute to the economic success of downtown hotels and other tourism sites by offering close-in bicycle rides along the rivers, and the biking possibilities are substantial, as we noted in our 2007 research report: The American River Parkway: Governance, Ecoregionalism, & Heritage, beginning at p 17.

This article from the Sacramento Bee about Fast Eddie Bike Tours, whose success exemplifies the potential.

An excerpt.

“By most accounts, Ed Hakari was a success in the corporate world. He made good money. He wore nice clothes. He had plenty of responsibility.

“But he was also overworked, overweight and stressed out.

“Hakari started power walking through his Land Park neighborhood and soon the pounds melted away. He started riding a bike and lost even more weight, going from 206 pounds to 162 on a small 6-foot frame. His pants size shrunk from a 38-inch waist to a 32.

“Then came his plan to reinvent himself even further: He would leave the high-stress job and do something on his own – something completely different.

“By 2009, Hakari, 47, left his position at Papyrus, a greeting card and stationery company with stores throughout the United States, and launched Fast Eddie Bike Tours.

“It was just him, a fleet of 10 new bikes and an idea to take visitors and locals alike on tours in and around Sacramento, telling them about the history, the culture and all of the attractions. There would be picnics, wine tastings and many other features tailored to the needs of those taking the tours.

“My mission was to be an advocate for a Sacramento experience that happens on a bike, and for that experience to be boutique – small and intimate,” Hakari said….

“These days, Fast Eddie’s reputation is growing. In bike-friendly Sacramento, where bicycle riding of all kinds has flourished in the past decade, his is the only bike touring company going.

“It’s a great way to see the city,” said Nick Leonti, tourism sales manager for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We encourage people to get on bikes and we send people to Fast Eddie. When we have industry folks come to town, we always try to hook them up with a bike tour.”

“The momentum for bikes as a tourism draw in Sacramento is growing. In April, the Convention and Visitors Bureau participated in the International Pow Wow, a major trade show run by the U.S. Travel Association. Its booth had a theme, “Bikes and Brews,” that touted Sacramento’s bicycle culture and its thriving craft beer scene.

“Sacramento also has a food tour company, Local Roots Food Tours, which conducts various walking tours to restaurants and other food-centric businesses in Sacramento and beyond….

“Two days after he launched his website in July 2009, Fast Eddie had its first customers – two tourists from Sydney, Australia.

“Hakari offers three kinds of tours at various price points. The leisure bike tours are for the “casual, occasional or once-upon- a-time rider” and are five to 10 miles at an easy pace through the city, the American River Parkway or Delta wine country. The three-hour wine tour, for instance, costs $65.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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