The PedalPub: Exercise, Sight-See, Bar-Hop, Party
By Chrissy Sarinske
It’s a tandem bike! It’s a tour bus! It’s a parade float! It’s PedalPub!
Maybe you’ve seen it, this crazy-looking pedal-powered “pub on wheels,” with up to 16 people pedaling, drinking, laughing, pedaling, laughing, drinking—slowly tooling around town in either Minneapolis or St. Paul.
A few years ago, when I first heard of the PedalPub, I was gung-ho about gathering a group of girlfriends to try this novelty, and then I kind of forgot about it. Until recently, that is.
Within the last two weeks, I saw the PedalPub twice, Gregory J. Scott mentioned it in Minnesota Monthly's June cover story, “Summer in the Cities,” and last weekend my sister-in-law Trish, her sister Tara, and a group of their friends went and excitedly told me all about their PedalPub/bar crawl experience when I saw them the following day … it's as if the universe is aligning and all of the signs are pointing to me booking a unique girls’ afternoon or night out on this Dutch-made “bike with the barrel.”
Who wants to join me?!
Here’s how it works: First, you go to the website and look to see if the date you want is free, then book a time slot and designated route (there are 11 routes to choose from—mostly in Minneapolis or St. Paul neighborhoods—varying in distance from 2 miles to 6 miles, with anywhere from six to nearly 30 stops available, depending on the route). The difficulty level ranges from mostly flat to moderately hilly, but nothing so hilly that you’d have to get off and push. The pedal bar concept originated in the Netherlands, and it’s not exactly hilly there, so it makes perfect sense that the Twin Cities routes aren’t too hilly, either.
After you book your time slot and pay the $320 per two-hour tour fee, you await confirmation from PedalPub. And then you cross your fingers for nice weather, because the PedalPub operates rain or shine.
You can have up to 16 people in your group, 17 total when you include the pilot/driver, who is supplied by the company for insurance purposes. There are 10 pedaling seats, five on each side, a bench in the back that seats three, a non-pedaling seat over the rear wheels, plus one “standee” spot for the bartender. It’s recommended that 8 people rent the pub, although 10 is preferable since there are 10 “pedaling” seats.
Just as Fred Flintstone fueled his car with his own foot power, these bikes get from point A to B solely through pedal power. You do get a workout (burn off those beer calories!) and the pedaling seats are not adjustable, so it’s a challenge for shorties to reach the pedals. According to the PedalPub website, “The PedalPub has a minimum height requirement of 5’3" for pedalers. There is a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds for people on the bike seats. The back seat is perfect for those who don’t fit within the height and weight limitations.”
You can drink alcohol on approved routes while pedaling merrily along, thanks to a change in Minnesota State Law a few years ago that allows passengers aboard the PedalPub to consume beer, wine or “malted beverages” (no hard liquor), and nothing in glass. There is room for two coolers or one “pony” keg with a Sankey-type connection. You can even bring a homebrewed keg, as long as you provide your own source of carbonation. You can bring food, too, and store it in the inside roof rack.
Fresh air, exercise, laughing and drinking with friends on a (hopefully nice) summer or fall afternoon or evening, listening to your favorite CD mix, hearing cheers of encouragement from people on nearby patios as you roll slowly by (at a speed of around 5 mph), that’s my kind of fun!
The PedalPub is perfect for team-building events, bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations, tailgating parties, and for a unique way to sightsee with out-of-town guests.
With the exception of Mondays, the PedalPub operates every day of the week, from April through October. If you can’t fill a Pub on your own, you can join a Mixers tour.
- Don’t wear flip-flops. Wear the type of shoes you’d wear when going for a bike ride.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Be prepared to sweat.
- Bring water.