What a difference a year can make.
In May of 2010, Danny Roman was operating his own bike touring company, Bikes and Hikes LA, out of a West Hollywood high-rise, where clients would meet the eco-friendly entrepreneur at the building’s valet patio.
Now, Roman has transformed his original vision into a brick and mortar shop. The storefront is officially open for business in the heart of the West Hollywood business district.
“It’s the most gratifying thing,” Roman said of finally operating from his own location. “It’s such an unbelievable feeling to open these doors every day and come into my own store.”
Roman has made it a point to not rest on his laurels since he opened the storefront and is introducing several new exercise options for his clients involving eco-friendly sightseeing tours and unique bonding experiences.
“One new thing that we started is an eco-fit spin class,” Roman said. “Spinning in L.A. is such a big thing. But this is not on a stationery bike, it’s actually getting out there on the streets, on a bike, and doing your exercise.”
Roman will be offering the new eco-fit spin classes twice each morning. The tour will begin in West Hollywood, go through Beverly Hills all the way up to Franklin Canyon Park, and then back down.
“We’re the first company that’s doing this and it’s a great way for people that are here on business and they do their routine exercise, but they want to be able to see the city while they do their exercise,” said Roman, who will be hiring special spin instructors to come along on the tours. “They can do these eco-fit spin classes.”
Those that have already ventured out on the tour include Jorge Perez from Bravo's Double Exposure and Jamie Lauren from Top Chef.
Roman will be sticking with the “spin” idea for the second new tour that will be implemented soon: spin dating tours.
“Another thing that I’m excited about is our spin dating,” Roman said. “It’s going to be three times a month, and there will be one for lesbians, one for gays and one for straights. We’re going to take 20 people on the L.A. in a Day tour, and they will be 20 singles.”
The spin dating tour will include the six-hour bike ride, the bike rental, water and a power lunch on Venice Beach. But according to Roman, that is only the beginning of the fun.
“It’s a bonding experience,” Roman said. “And when we get back, Gym Bar next door will host a party for us. There is pool, there is darts, there is sports playing on the TV. It’s just an interesting way to do something different. You see the city, get some amazing exercise, meet new people, and hopefully meet the love of your life.”
Aside from managing his new enterprise, Roman is currently in the process of filming a reality television series, Roman's Empire, centered on the development of Bikes and Hikes LA.
The idea for the reality show came about when a business colleague of Roman’s thought the idea of beginning a small business would be something that the nation could relate to, especially in this economy.
“[He] thought that it would be interesting to actually create a television show that shows somebody who was laid off, who is trying to find his passion in life, to follow them and watch what it takes to actually set up a small business that’s eco-friendly and health conscious,” Roman said.
After being laid off in 2010, Roman credits a CNN study as his motivation for launching a small business and opening the storefront. The study showed that the rate of starting small businesses in America is the highest it has been in 15 years, and that the small business market is booming in Los Angeles.
“This is exactly what our current administration is trying to promote more,” Roman said. “The Obamas, it’s like their thing. Michelle [Obama] is always talking about healthy living and Barack [Obama] is always talking about small businesses and eco-friendly and saying that is the way of the future.”
Now that the reality show has begun filming, Roman has already adapted the mindset of a reality star, as he claims the show may have gotten its first big break about a week ago.
“I have bikes that I lock up out on the sidewalk that I rent,” Roman said. “It’s just kind of a flashy thing. So somebody came up and clipped the lock and stole one of my bikes. Somebody from the bar next door came in and told us.”
“So I was actually able to chase the guy as the cameras were filming," he said.