Archive for September 7, 2011

Noble Bikes and Concessions in Delphi, Indiana

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment
Noble Bikes in Delphi

Noble Bikes in Delphi. Photo provided by the venue.

In 2009, Carroll County residents Jean and Kevin Howell saw a unique opportunity spawning at Delphi’s Wabash & Erie Canal Park.

With 10 miles of walking/biking trails, and more than a mile of reclaimed watered canal, they envisioned a small business that could offer the opportunity for visitors to explore the historic park on bicycles, pedal surreys, paddleboats and kayaks.

From that vision, Noble Bikes and Concessions was born.

“Wabash & Erie Canal Park showed promise as a tourism venue for Delphi,” said co-owner Jean Howell. “And because of the trails and canal, we thought a conveniently located bike and paddleboat rental shop would be an added attraction.”

To back up the notion, Howell added that a study in the 1990s indicated a bicycle/rental shop would indeed fit in well.

“There was a past planning study done for the city that suggested a bike shop would be a good potential business for the area,” Howell said.

Noble Bikes began simply in July of 2009 – midseason – and offered bicycle rentals. The initial location was the corner of a barn on the south side of the park.

A family – sized pedal surrey was added that year and the response by the end of the season had been encouraging enough to plan a second year.

In spring 2010, the business moved to a bank barn at the front end of the park in the historic pioneer village along the bank of the canal. A second larger surrey was added, paddleboats were purchased, and a bicycle repair shop was opened.

That year Noble Bikes also occupied a second building near the canal boat dock where the ¾ size canal boat replica loaded passengers. Concessions were added to the business with drinks, snacks and ice cream.

Toward the end of the season Howell said, after several suggestions from customers, the business added kayaks to the rental equipment line up.

This year, another enticement for customers was added in the concession booth – 1850s period appropriate sandwiches. Since the Delphi area at the time, and still today, was known for pork products, a special recipe pulled pork sandwich is served on weekends.

With two sons having several years of chef experience under their belt, Zac and Paul Howell joined the staff to create the sandwiches.

Served on a sub type bun, the pork simmered in a special jus is topped with crock fermented cabbage (like the old days), Swiss cheese and a Fermenti Artisan prepared beer – based mustard.

With the 2011 season past the halfway point, the Howells are looking ahead to 2012 with plenty of ideas that will likely grow over the winter.

If you go:

Noble Bikes is located on the canal at Wabash & Erie Canal Park, 1030 N. Washington Street, Delphi. From Monticello take US 421 south to Indiana 18. Take 18 to east to Ind. 25 at Delphi. Turn left to the next stoplight at the Carroll County Courthouse. Turn left again onto North Washington and go about 11 blocks. Canal Park is on the left after crossing the stone bridge over the canal.

For more information, visit, or call 765-427-3295.