The HandleBar Toledo, LLC was founded in September 2016 by downtown Toledo resident Tom Van Wingen and his friends from college, brothers Brian and Stephen Lindsay. Tom, Brian, and Stephen share a love for biking, great beer, being active, and all things outdoors, so starting a business that combined those passions into one was a natural fit! All 3 are also mechanical engineers by trade and over the years they have provided design improvements to the bike manufacturer in an effort to continuously improve the on-bike experience for HandleBar customers.
The history of the bike bar dates back to the world headquarters of the bicycle – in The Netherlands. 19 years ago the bike that you see around downtown Toledo, Ohio today was invented by Brothers Henk and Zwier Van Laar. They were asked by a friend who owned a bar to make a float for the Queen’s Day Parade – the request was to make a bicycle bar combining 2 favorites of the Dutch: Beer and biking. Henk and Zwier went to work and what you see is the result! After the parade it was such a hit they started renting it and the rest is history.
We’re honored to offer tours of Toledo with the world’s first bicycle bar. Look close and you’ll see dutch wording “Het Fietscafe” on the bike, which is a word that Henk and Zwier made up of existing words (Het = the, Fiets = bicycle, cafe = bar). Pictured at right are Henk and Zwier with their HandleBar t-shirts and 2 of our bikes before they were shipped from Amsterdam! Something else The HandleBar is proud of is that we’ve made design improvement suggestions to the clutch system and they have already been implemented to the bikes that are shipping worldwide.
"We had the best time, a group of coworkers and friends on Friday night, Oct.21st. from 8 til 10! Ryan, our driver was the bomb..and peddling that awesome Amsterdam bike wasn't an issue on a chilly night either, what a way to burn a few drinkin' calories! Downtown Toledo rocks and I know, we will be back, peddling again soon! :)"
"I rented 2 HandleBars for a surprise 50th birthday party for my wife. We had friends from Washinton state, Canada and New York join us. It was a great way to introduce our friends to the downtown Toledo night life. Everyone had an absolute blast and my wife still talks about it as her best birthday ever 6 months later. Tom and staff took care of all of the details so that all we had to do was show up. All of the bars we visited took care of us very well also. I couldn't image having a better party for her and it was so easy I almost feel guilty - almost."
"We originally scheduled our HandleBar tour to celebrate my daughter's 24th birthday in May with all of her friends. However, she also had just graduated from college and got engaged the weekend before so it was a multitude of celebrations!! I would definitely recommend booking a tour either for a special occasion or just a fun night out on the town with friends!! The downtown Toledo area is such a fun time and our guide was so much fun and entertaining as well! The only bad part - it went by wayyyy too fast! Will definitely do it again!"
Curious about what The HandleBar experience is really like? Check out these photos of riders having a great time with friends, family, and coworkers while biking and checking out bars downtown.
We are more than happy to help you better understand what The HandleBar experience is all about, how to book your tour, and to let you know what to expect during your ride through our amazing city’s streets.