A group gathers on bikes at the west entrance of the Provo City Cemetery each Saturday night, ready to hear about the ghosts of a seemingly quiet city.
BYU graduate Derek Jacobs started Pedal Provo, a bicycle ghost tour, in June of this year. He leads a group through Provo, stopping at various locations and telling the ghost stories that accompany the sites.
“Everyone thinks that Provo’s this nice quiet town; that nothing happens,” Jacobs said. “Coming on the tour, you realize that Provo’s been around for a long time, and some crazy stuff has happened — even recently.”
Jacobs realized he was bored this past March and wanted to take on some sort of project. He thought about his love of cycling, giving tours and telling stories — which made him remember a bicycle ghost tour he had been on in 2013.
After a quick search, Jacobs found that the people who had been doing the bike tours before were no longer in business, so he decided to start Pedal Provo. Jacobs searched online for spooky stories and reached out to people who have lived in Provo for a long time who might know Provo’s scary past. All of the stories are historically tied to the area, but they aren’t too scary, according to Jacobs.
“It’s more like fun-scary than like keep-you-up-at-night-worrying-that-you’re going-to-be-killed spooky,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs flips on a red flashing light on the back of his bike at the beginning of each tour and warns, “Don’t follow other guides because they will be ghosts.”
The route goes through the cemetery, up near Seven Peaks and down through the neighborhood south of campus. It’s pretty flat the whole time, except for one hill that Jacobs makes optional.
“It was really mellow,” said Salt Lake resident Sioeli Kupu. “The bike ride was a good twist.”
The tour includes ghost stories, tales of tragedy and creepy incidents from modern-day Provo.
“I really like how all the stories were true, too. That was … a big upside to it,” said Salt Lake resident Rina Fonua.
Both Sioeli and Rina were intrigued by one particular ghost story that involved four corpses, a cave and some ghostly handprints—which they can see for themselves if they ever venture back to climb that hill in Provo.
Jacobs leads tours every Saturday at 9:00 p.m. More information can be found on Pedal Provo’s website.
The tour begins and ends at the Provo City Cemetery.
“The cemetery is spooky and at night some of the statues in the cemetery do stuff. They do creepy stuff, and you can see it during the day, which is why I try to start at dusk — so you can see what they’ve been doing at night during the day,” Jacobs said.