Sometimes working from home can get overwhelming and in those times, I genuinely like to meet people. Especially those giving up full time jobs for something new and exciting. I’m also #newinthecity and it’s my way of connecting with people and the culture around me. Needless to say, I’ve been running across Meet-ups (maybe I need to start one), bookfests (my greatest day so far in Ann Arbor), and generally walking up to stores to talk with people and say hello. I had forgotten that I was this person. I’ve always been attracted to local things from Chandni Chowk to Munich. But it was a bit harder in Germany, considering I could not put in more effort with the language. In that respect Ann Arbor feels like a breeze*. When I decided to meet Dave Cicotte of High Five Pedal Tours, Ann Arbor, over a Twitter reply, it felt like a breeze too. I got an immediate American response- friendly and quick. Our meeting was set in Ann Arbor Brewing company at the Washington Street…
Reaching the Ann Arbor Brewing Company
Naturally, I took my usual bus. This time it was a shorter route 7 with an expected friendly hello. Vishal said, I’d soon get used to the indulgent American life. I’m certain, I’m getting used to the overall friendliness of the bus drivers. Good job, AATA! ;-).
I had been to the Brewing company once before and fallen in love with the mini lunch soups. Going there all by myself had meant that I had taken the bar route. I’m quite alright to eat out alone but something about a bar stool makes the world less alonely. America makes me want to talk, to bartenders and drivers. But a defined meeting left me with full confidence of asking for a table. My awkwardness was hidden in the touch screen of my iPhone as I typed Dave my message- I’m here, call me to coordinate. In a moment Dave called.
I noticed he had also messaged. He had already ordered for his favorite drink and had taken the bar route. Swiftly, we moved to the table.
Meet Dave Cicotte of High Five Pedal Tours, Ann Arbor
I’ve said this to a few people I’ve met now. I think it was my husband who first pointed it out. With all its differences, Ann Arbor is an easier transition from Europe compared to a suburb. It’s no New York, but the quirkiness of a small international town makes me feel much better than the first time I was in Texas with huge highways and vast areas of nothingness. My European and Indian memories are set in small spaces. I’m attracted to the close local quarters and more recently bikes.
// While on Twitter, I am finding out anyone and everyone in Ann Arbor. I’m thinking I need to meet all the local bloggers here. I find none but my eyes fall on High Five Pedal Tours, Ann Arbor. I already know of bike tours from Europe and this immediately catches my attention. I want to believe that Ann Arbor is something like Europe. I write. I get an immediate response. I email a day later and Dave, the founder of High Five Pedal Tours wants to meet. //
Dave Cicotte is from Wayne in Michigan. I ask, if it’s related to the Wayne county. He forgets to laugh, but tells me it is in Wayne county. My new American-ness is making me immune to embarrassment. I proceed to share my airport route with him and my newfoundknowledge. Currently Dave lives in Livonia with his wife and a three year old son. He misses the fact that Livonia doesn’t have a downtown and talks of American distances in driving minutes. It’s a 30 minute drive from Ann Arbor. I make mental notes.
Dave: Anything is Possible
This is not a sixteen year old. Dave moved from a college degree in communication, to radio events, to teaching English, project management in a design firm, to social media in a travel company. He also founded a craft beer company, Good Pour along the way. He insists all these experiences were getting him ready. His expectations are realistic, unlike a college grad. He had worked his way towards now being able to create his own company. Anything is possible, he says. He doesn’t want to restrict himself to a beer-on-a-cycle image. It was more. It was beginning in Ann Arbor on Saint Patrick’s day, next year. The weather could be iffy, but who knows? Right now, Dave is in Orlando, speaking in a conference, his last week at his full-time job. He is prepared.
The bikes are on their way from Amsterdam in December. His capital for the Startup comes via a silent investor
“I don’t think $50,000 is a high investment for a Startup”, shares Dave.
High Five Pedal Tours is planning to build its business on relationships with local establishments on the one hand and reach out to millennial travelers on the other hand. They’re different he says.
It’s like we all want to travel, but recreate the feeling of being at home. We want to go where the locals go. The millennials are different and want local experiences. That’s what I’ll provide. ~Dave
The High Five Pedal Tours Imagination
Picture this, Dave explains: fifteen people, one bike, and you go local pub/ place hopping. You may get lucky and have a violin player on-board. Or, someone to sketch you, I add. “Exactly”, says Dave, there are so many possibilities. If successful the bikes may get more drivers, maybe even university students who know the local hangouts. At this point, Dave proceeds to tell me his favorite bars, pubs and establishments. I make further notes to thank him later and also to get myself there.
It was like my friends would call me and ask where should they hang out in Detroit. I’d be able to help them. I am that guy. It’s not a new idea, or nothing that hasn’t been done before. But I want to focus on new experiences. It’s important to be different. ~ Dave
Dave’s American Dream- I Can Not Fail
There are no awkward moments in our conversation. Dave fills up the spaces with his excitement. We go back and forth on topics of family, Michigan, the High Five state and everything in between. Considering Michigan freezes over in the winter, this is a spring to fall activity. Dave may do something on the side in the winter. There’s plenty ideas. And then we joke about him taking the bikes to Phoenix, Arizona- I complete the sentence for him. Las Vegas he corrects me, his in-laws live there. I tell him I’d be an Ann Arbor customer. Naturally, he adds. “This guy is my inspiration”, he asserts next. Half expecting Steve Jobs, I see the image of his three year old Ninja on the iPhone. The boy is dressed in a Ninja mask. Dave treats me to a falafel wrap. We walk to the door for photographs in better light. He looks at Ninja on his phone again. I can not fail.
We move to the purple door for pictures. No one fails with purple in the background, I decide.
I’m obsessing with Shark Tank of late. It’s still early days, but this whole American optimism is so addictive. Lisa said, there must be something positive here that attracts people. I suddenly feel it’s the fact that risks feel so good here.
*It’s so refreshing to sound and be like an adult, in a language that I speak and understand. More importantly, not to apologize before, after and during conversation.