Human pedaling power is what propels a big blue paddlewheel boat up and down Marco’s waterways for a truly unique experience.
Participants have the option while aboard to join in the cycling or just come along for the cruise. There is a gas-powered engine when needed.
As the Paradise Cycle Boat brochure goes, it can be a bike cruise, a sightseeing cruise, a sunset cruise, or a party cruise.
Choices are: 10-11:30 AM family fun (ages 5+), ages 12+ 12-2 PM eco tour, 2:30-4 PM captain’s choice, and 4:15-6:15 PM sunset cruise.
As part of a collaboration with the Marco YMCA of South Collier, the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 8:30-9:45 AM cycle fitness class can be a really solid workout that complements the Y’s mission statement of healthy living. A portion of ticket sales is donated to the Y’s Safety Around Water program for swim lessons.
The boat has 10 cycle stations with a system that connects and directly propels the paddlewheel aft of the boat.
The Y’s cycle cruise exercise class is offered to 10 pedalers at $25 per person.
Public cruises run regularly throughout the day and vary in price from $40 for a 1.5-hour cruise to $45 for two hours. Alternatively, the entire boat can be rented for $550 for 1.5 hours (up to 18 people) and $650 for two hours.
“Full boat rentals,” said Deborah, “are perfect for families and their friends, corporate outings, team-building sessions and special occasions.”
Michigan event planner Dana Wagner enjoyed a recent Y outing after seeing publicity on Facebook.
“It’s great for any age or ability,” Dana said. “You can get on and off the bikes if you want to. We did some upper body workouts, squats and dancing to great music. It’s a unique way to experience Florida’s waterways.”
Krista Shoults and his daughter Maddi were on the same Y workout cruise, and apart from the workout aspect, they enjoyed seeing some dolphins en route.
“It was cool being out on the water,” said Maddi. She and her mom are Pickaway County, OH YMCA members. They planned to go take a look at the Marco Y before heading back home.
Captain Michael Passero said the month-old business is starting to flourish, largely because of word-of-mouth as well as social media exposure.
He said from a workout point of view, the boat’s paddlewheel can be hydraulically adjusted to provide more resistance for pedalers. The higher in the water, the easier the pedaling, he explained.
The boat has a dolphin-sighting bell, Bluetooth connectivity and charging stations. An arched red/white/blue canopy provides sun protection, and a long Corian counter with five cycle stations on either side contains coolers for bring-along drinks and snacks.
Comfy bench seating is available for 8 additional passengers and for switching on and off. A full-sized head is discreetly located at the stern, and all safety requirements are met.
Paradise Cycle Boat Cruises is a family-owned, locally operated business offering discounts to local teachers and school staff, firefighters, EMS, police and military personnel.
The boat is conveniently located at Rose Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Drive, A dock, slip 17. Call 239-300-8176, or visit paradisecycleboat.com for full details.