By Kelly Youngblood
Looking for a new way to see the sights and sounds of downtown Champaign? Check out these two new businesses that offer unique modes of transportation in downtown Champaign and the campus area.
Owned and operated by a local husband and wife team, Beth and Martin Saupes began offering horse-drawn carriage rides in downtown Champaign just a few weeks ago.
Some may recognize them from Curtis Orchard’s Breakfast with Santa; they’ve provided horse-drawn wagon rides at at that event the past two years.
Beth, who is now retired, said they decided to start the carriage rides downtown as a way to do something fun that also made them a little extra income.
She says says the new venture is also a “way of sharing the blessing of our horses with everybody else.”
They don’t have a set schedule yet, but have been taking their 4-year-old Clydesdale, Jill, to the downtown area every weekend to offer carriage rides. For a 10-15 minute ride, the cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 10 and younger, and kids 2 and under ride for free.
The city of Champaign has been very encouraging and so far Beth says they haven’t had any trouble finding interested customers.
Beth feels people enjoy the carriage rides because “it just slows everything down a little bit.”
“It’s a chance to sit and smell things and see things you don’t normally see,” she said.
The Saupeses, who have two other horses in addition to their Clydesdale, Jill, also do private carriage rides and hay rides at their farm near Bondville.
For more information, call (217) 369-4205 or go to their website.
Another new and unique transportation option in Champaign (though not as family-friendly) is the Slowride Pedal Tours.
Grab your favorite beverage (yes, you can BYOB) and hop on board the 15-seat pedal bus for a leisurely two-hour cruise around downtown Champaign or Campustown.
Slowride Pedal Tours opened in April and offers group and individual tours. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-7 p.m. on Saturday. For more information about pricing or to book your spot, go to their website.