PelotonPosts interviews Norman Patry
PelotonPosts is a monthly interview with a member of PelotonLabs, a co-working community in Bramhall Square in Portland’s West End. This month, Peloton’s founder Liz Trice caught up with Norman Patry, owner of Summer Feet Cycling and EnCYCLEpedia, which runs bike tours and rents bikes.
Liz: Your bike tours company runs trips all over the world, right?
Norman: Summer Feet Cycling offers luxury cycling experiences for active adults in the US, Canada and Europe including Italy, Croatia. Macedonia, Spain and Ireland. The longest is twelve days in Italy, the shortest is our two hour “Bike and Breweries in Portland” tour, a three-mile oceanfront ride to award-winning breweries where we tell you the story of alcohol and beer in Portland.
Liz: How did you get into this?
Norman: I grew up in Lewiston. I was a relationship manager for institutional retirement plans in Boston. Then I moved back to Maine to be close to my family. And I needed another career, so I sat around until I decided I wanted to ride my bike. I looked at what other companies were doing, and started with offering multi-day trips in Maine.
It took me about five years until I was supporting myself. I’ve run Summer Feet for seventeen years, and this will be my second year renting bikes. Summer Feet serves 1,400 people in a year, and the rental business about 3,000. We employ about fourteen people during the summer.
Liz: The bike rental business is new, and it’s down by Ocean Gateway.
Norman: EnCYCLEpedia is a bicycle rental business we run out of a shipping container on the waterfront, Commercial and India Streets from May through October. We offer free cycling maps to everyone, and we rent bikes for $20 per half-day or $30 for a full-day. Tours start at $59 per person.
The most popular tour is our Five Lighthouse tour. It’s designed to be a fun activity, not an athletic challenge. We bike the five lighthouses, tell you the story of Portland – both the history and the perspective of a local – and give you the best lobster roll in Maine: Bite into Maine.
EnCYLEpedia is near the cruise ships, but that’s a minor part of our business. There are over five million visitors to Portland, and only about 80,000 come from cruise ships.
Liz: What’s the best part of running your business?
Norman: I really enjoy sharing the beauty and the story of Maine with people. I love the challenges of being a business owner – it’s always different, it’s fun. It gives me the freedom to travel, to go to interesting places, and to be outside. That makes me happy.
Liz: What’s the the next exciting thing?
Norman: We have phenomenal resources in Maine. It’s easier for me to bring people from other places to Maine than to bring Mainers to Europe, so we’re going to start offering walking and hiking vacations in Maine in 2018.
Liz: You’ve been a member at PelotonLabs for 4 years. . . what’s been most helpful for you?
Norman: I like the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. When I started this seventeen years ago there were no co-working spaces, hardly any coffee shops. I just had to sit in my bedroom and figure it out by myself. I like that there’s a community of entrepreneurs and people doing interesting things for a living.