Paradise Trike Tours isn’t just a popular activity for cruise ship guests to San Diego but an ideal excursion for area residents as well as other tourists from around the world.
The electric trikes are often doable for a child who can ride a bike, as well as seniors, with the oldest rider to date being 77. (Perhaps someone wants to snag the new record?)
Three-wheeled — one in front, two in back— trikes are less intimidating than a Segway it seems, and the rider can more easily balance with a sturdy platform, feet shoulder-width apart and hands comfortable on the handlebars while in a standing position.
“It’s a fun ride on our trikes,” said tour company president Steve Risafi. “People fall in love with it.”
Risafi added how helmeted riders can cruise safely without any pressure, following bike lanes and bracketed by himself and his business partner, the other tour guide. There’s a hands- and eyes-free walkie talkie for easy communication as well as a complimentary pouch on the trike for carrying a provided bottle of water and other small items like a sweater.
Riders explore the island and learn about Coronado’s unique spots, from the Hotel del Coronado to the Navy SEAL base, from the sand dunes to the Wizard of Oz house. Also included is time to step off the trike and look around, take pictures and peruse the Hotel Del lobby as well as visit the latest work of “The Sandcastle Man.”
Risafi explained that it’s an entertaining, safe activity; especially nowadays with fresh air, social distancing and the ability to wear masks if desired — or to browse a shop or grab a meal before or after a tour. He said it was actually very easy to adjust for COVID safety precautions, and the activity allows people to get out and do something within their comfort zone without worrying about enough space, sanitation or Plexiglass.
Having moved from the East Coast in 2014 (now living in Temecula), Risafi had taken a San Diego trolley tour where you hop on and off and thought, “there’s gotta be more to this.” That point combined with the personal purchase discovery of how fun an electric trike is, and the idea was born.
Risafi described how a Chula Vista family did a tour and exclaimed they had never known about many of the nearby Coronado gems so close to them for so long. He also mentioned how a Minnesota family was escaping the winter cold and they were surprised that cruising around people could be comfortable in T-shirts and shorts, year-round in fact.
The Coronado tour (which is to soon include a ferry option over to the San Diego side) starts at Tidelands Park, rolls along the water to stop at the fishing pier for cityscape pictures, then makes its way to Alameda Boulevard, where it heads towards the sand dunes at the beach and the Del before zipping back along Glorietta Boulevard.
Risafi said it takes three minutes to master the trike and riders are quickly confident zooming along at the top speed of 15 miles per hour, soaking up the Crown City at their own pace.
The company isn’t fond of the word “scooter,” Risafi laughs, describing how the “s” word conveys something different that requires more work and balance.
“There’s not a bead of sweat; you don’t have to work hard,” he said, adding about the 77-year-old grandmother the tour company hosted: “By the end no one could catch her.”
“The Coronado tour is by far the most popular one,” he said. “How could it not be?”
“Just the smiles on people’s faces,” Risafi said, “they’re like a kid again.”