Get To Know: Chattanooga Cycleboats

Drake Farmer

As the summertime heat settles over Chattanooga, many of us take to the water for respite. Lucky for us, the Tennessee River cuts right through our beautiful downtown. An integral part of Chattanooga’s identity, the Tennessee River has a lot to offer our city’s cultural and business ecosystem.

Captain Nate Wilson, owner and founder of Chattanooga Cycleboats, wants to shed new light on ways to enjoy our river. Chattanooga Cycleboats, which celebrated its first birthday this April, started in spring of 2016 when Wilson was looking to change careers. The idea initially came from seeing pedal busses on land.

“You see them on the street everywhere,” Wilson says. “To be honest, I wanted to work in something fun.” 

Chattanooga Cycleboats is also hiring for the summer. So if you’re an extrovert, Wilson says he’s looking for someone to be the “director of fun.” Find out more here.

Now entering its second summer season, Wilson and Chattanooga Cycleboats are ready to dive in to some “awesome, Chattanooga fun,” as their website says. 

And that’s what Wilson does. Customers can bring their own…anything, really. Chattanooga Cycleboats is ready to cater to any idea of fun.

Wilson has hosted parties, spin classes and everything in between on his pedal-powered boat. He’s currently looking to broaden his customer base even further.

“I want to do a program for emergency professionals to give them an opportunity to go out and fish,” Wilson says.

And throughout the summer, he’s offering a $10 discount for service industry workers each Monday and Tuesday.

“That’s their weekend,” Wilson says. 

But Wilson’s tours cater to a variety of people wanting to experience the Tennessee River.

“The one hour tours in the beginning of the day are more for the tourists and historians,” Wilson says. “In the afternoons, we get a lot of businesses and team building events.”

In the event you don’t want to pedal, you don’t have to. In addition to the pedal-powered propeller, the boat also has a solar powered motor.

“If you don’t want to peddle, you don’t have to,” Wilson says. “It’s the novelty of it.”

In particular, the motor is useful for those who wish to relax and have a drink or some food.

“We stop at the boathouse. Once we leave the dock, we make a takeout order,” Wilson says. “Then, when we get to their dock, we take the food back to our boat and eat, casually.”

This summer, Wilson and his crew are looking into partnerships with other local businesses.

“I’ve been working with Improv Chattanooga,” Wilson says. “We’re putting together a murder mystery tour. We’re going to do that once a month. We are also partnering with South Eastern Adventure Tours to offer eco trips down river through the Tennessee River Gorge.”

And of course, Riverbend is coming up. Wilson will offer the unique experience of seeing the festival from the river without missing out on turkey legs and the festival’s street vendors.

“We’re doing a three hour block from 8 to 11 p.m. where you can experience Riverbend from the river but also have access to the festival,” Wilson says. 

Check out the Cycleboat’s Facebook page to learn more about Chattanooga Cycleboats, and enter to win a free private charter. 

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