Tampa Bay Water Bike Co.
For people who love working outside, few places around Tampa Bay are better for that than the waterfront by the Tampa Convention Center. That's where you're find Chelsea Albrecht handling the comings and goings at Tampa Bay Water Bike Co. The California native is a Jack (or better yet, a Jill) of all trades and even works out of a floating office!
Where are you from? San Diego, California.
How long have you lived in Tampa Bay? 5 years.
Who’s your hero and why? My Mom and Dad, because they have worked their hardest to give me the best life possible. And if I'm ever in doubt, they have my back.
Tell me about your job. What do you do there? I get to the dock around 9:30 to unlock the office, turn on the computer, unlock everything and set it all up. I love having these responsibilities because I feel like it's my own business. While it's still cool out I pull the equipment out of the water to scrape the growth off the bottom. It keeps them clean and light-weight. I literally take a paint-scraper and scuff barnacles off. Then I clean and lube the chain and hose the dock off. It's good hard labor! I absolutely love it. I love getting my hands and clothes dirty. I get the best sense of accomplishment from it. Of course by the time customers start rolling in I'll be sitting in a chair with my feet up looking like I haven't moved a muscle since I got out of bed. My favorite part comes once a week, where I take the skiff out for a joy ride. This keeps it running good and ready for rescue.
What do you like about it? It has taught me a lot. The owner, Dan, has given me a lot of responsibilities so I feel like I'm running my own business. I leaned how to drive a boat. I learned how to replace a bike chain. I discovered how good it feels to do dirty, manual labor. I also love sitting on the dock in my downtime and feeling like I'm sitting on the beach. Some days I go home feeling like I was just at the spa.
What’s something people don’t know about it? My office floats! It's a remodeled pontoon boat that the owner, Dan, built himself. We have water bikes, tandem water bikes, biyaks (kayaks you peddle) and tandem biyaks. The water bikes are obviously the most popular. They're basically beach-cruiser with a little propeller in the back. They move pretty good! People don't know that this can either be a leisurely experience, or a work-out. Our bikes are just like beach-cruisers. There are no gears. So depending on how hard you peddle, you're gonna go slow and easy or strong and fast. You can really get them going if you put the work in, but you'll see most people just kind of floating along. Also, the biyaks are SUPER comfortable. You just sit back and peddle. If feels like you're laying in the water. You could almost fall asleep. If your kid can't reach the peddles on the bike they can sit on the side. We also allow dogs!
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on the job? Seeing other employees on the dock fall into the water is rare, but when it happens it's a great laugh. I'm one of the only ones that hasn't fallen in yet which is weird because I'm also the most careless.
What do you do for fun or hobby? I bike along the Tampa Riverwalk or Bayshore Boulevard with my dog, Snuff, in his bike buggy, (he can't run). I lounge around Davis Island beach. At night, I bounce around Ybor. I also love to paint.
What do you recommend your visitors do for fun when they come to Tampa? Usually my customers are hungry or looking for a drink afterwards. I give them the run-down of the area, and I always recommend Columbia Cafe. It's based on the 1905 Columbia restaurant in Ybor City, only it's right on the Riverwalk, and right on the water. The view is unbeatable. The prices are very fair. If you order the 1905 salad, they'll come out with all the ingredients and make it right there at your table. They'll do the same if you order a pitcher of sangria. They'll make it right there in front of you. It's incredible.
Anything else you’d like to add? Tampa has changed so much just in the past 5 years I've been here, and I can't wait to see it get even better.