Customized bike tours
On a recent San Diego press trip, I participated in a bike tour of Coronado Island via Where You Want To Be Tours. The tour company, owned by Darlynne and Marc Menkin, specializes in customized scavenger hunts, bike tours and bus tours that take attendees to places only known about by locals.
Our group used complimentary bikes provided for us at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego located near the convention center. We rode our bikes to the Coronado Ferry and made our way across the San Diego Bay to the island, where Darlynne and Marc met us to begin our tour of the area’s residential streets.
While views of the city from the island are prominent throughout the tour, we made a stop at Harbor View Park to get what the Menkins believe is the area’s best. This small park had very few locals using it the day we visited. The intimate setting and shade provided by the trees make it an ideal spot to stop and watch the boats in the harbor and take pictures of the downtown skyline. Both Darlynne and Marc say it’s an especially good location to gather on the Fourth of July to get an up-close view of the city’s fireworks display.
Up next on the tour was Margarita Avenue, lined with houses featuring Spanish-style architecture topped off with red clay tile roofs. Here, we made a quick stop for a movie trivia session, in which the duo gave out prizes for who could guess different movies filmed in the San Diego area. Traffic, for instance, was filmed in the city, and Darlynne shared her experience playing a bit role as a reporter in the film.
“We love to give out prizes on bike tours and get people talking to each other,” says Darlynne. “On our bus tours, the drivers also enjoy doing trivia. We don’t like having a tour where it’s just a guy talking. We like people talking to us.”
The company arranges adventure packages for groups of 20 to 100 attendees, but has arranged ones for larger groups in the past. Darlynne says that the Urban Challenge Scavenger Hunt is the company’s signature package. Using it as a prototype, they’ve arranged different versions ranging from a food scavenger hunt to a charity scavenger hunt.
The husband-wife team designs individual tours based on questions answered by the meeting planner about the likes and dislikes of the group. This gives them a better understanding of what the group wants to benefit from the tour and the purpose of their time in San Diego. While the downtown area is common for group tours because of its convenient location near the convention center, meeting planners also often request Coronado Island and La Jolla because of their history in the area.