What Is a Pedal Party?

by Chuck Robert

Take your party on the road in an environmentally friendly way. The Pedal Party of Houston, Texas, rents out a specialty "bicycle" built for 16 passengers. Riders travel the streets of Houston looking at the scenery, getting exercise and, yes, enjoying refreshments -- not to mention the stares of those passing by. The "Pedal Pub" idea got its start in Amsterdam, where the bike is called a "Fietscafe," but U.S. companies in several cities have imported the vehicles. The Pedal Pub is touted as a safe and unusual way to spend time with friends, celebrate special events or host corporate team-building exercises.

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The Bike

The Pedal Pub is a handmade vehicle invented by two brothers. Its Dutch name, Fietscafe, translates to "drink bike." The bike is like a party bus, except it runs on pedal-power. The pedal bus can hold up to 16 people, with 15 sitting and one person standing as the bartender. The bike travels at speeds of 5 to 8 miles per hour. Pedal Party in Houston (pedal-party.com) rents the bike by the hour and supplies a driver.

Drinks and Music

Pedal Party riders can drink beer and wine on some Houston routes, but as of the time of publication, some areas of the city are off-limits for alcohol consumption. In addition, people cannot use glass containers, only the original packaging, and they cannot open them until the party starts. However, people can take coolers on the bike. If alcohol is served, all riders must be at least 21 and must show identification. Otherwise, riders must be 18 and older. The Pedal Party includes music, and the company website includes a playlist specially created to inspire pedal-pushers.

Roles

Ten people in the pedal party pedal, the other six are riders. The Pedal Party renter gives orders to the "captain" of the bike cruise and makes decisions on behalf of the group. The driver of the vehicle decides when someone in the party has had too much to drink or is otherwise causing a disturbance. Getting out of hand means the driver could pull the bike over and boot off the offender.

Benefits

The bike provides mild exercise and is not too strenuous. According to the company, the only injuries that have ever occurred on the bike involved someone trying to get off while it was in motion. The bike is an eco-friendly way to travel through town and see sights and sounds. Since its human-powered, it does not produce any emissions that could increase pollution or contribute to global warming.

Locations

Pedal Pub bikes are also available for rental in Minneapolis; Chicago; Milwaukee; Denver and Boulder, Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; and Lawrence, Kansas. The companies operate under various names, including PubCrawler, Pedal Tavern, My Handlebar and Pedal Hopper.