The science of pedal pub hatred

The hatred of pedal pubs, which fueled a squirt-gun attack on a group of off-duty cops last week in Minneapolis, has deliciously reached the ivory towers of academia.

Star Tribune reporter John Reinan has gotten to the bottom of why “we” hate pedal pubs.

Yes, they’re noisy and the people get drunk, but this is in a state built on alcohol and where economic development is a taproom, so there must be more.

We’re looking at you, social media.

“I think that is very definitely a factor,” said William Beeman, chairman of the Anthropology Department at the University of Minnesota. “You get something you’re interested in pursuing, and you have no idea whether anybody else feels the same way. And all of a sudden, you see that other people do feel the same way. You feel empowered, you feel like you’re a group that now has some legitimacy because of the numbers involved.

“And very likely, the large numbers give people who would like to take an action some feeling of support,” Beeman said. “If I take some action, I’ll have my community behind me.”

But surely it must be more or we’d just whip up an “I Hate the Achievement Gap” Facebook page.

Reinan raises another possibility — hatred of the suburbs.

But you own this baby, Minneapolis.

One misconception about the pedaling pubs is that they’re full of suburban residents coming to get drunk in the city. That’s false, according to PedalPub and its competitor, Traveling Tap. Minneapolis residents make up more than half the customers of both businesses, the managers said. And the pubs’ visibility makes them an easy target, said Dan O’Brien, operations manager for Traveling Tap.

The nonsense has also reached the Strib’s editorial page today.

Online, some are celebrating the PedalPub bandits as folk heroes. They’re not. The attacks could have caused the vehicle to swerve into traffic or riders to fall off. Like it or not, Twin Cities PedalPub is a business operating with regulatory approval in the Twin Cities. Customers bring their own beer and drivers, who are employed by the company, are not allowed to drink.

It’s worth noting that many motorists consider bicyclists to be traffic-blocking nuisances. Imagine the uproar if drivers took the law into their own hands and pelted cyclists with water balloons.

Maybe there isn’t any real science here at all. Maybe it was just a situation where a few knuckleheads had nothing to do and thought it would be funny.

As someone on the MPR Facebook page analyzed, “this story has multiple layers of stupidity.”

  • jon

    Me and my co-worker were discussing this the other day…

    After some internet research we found that car and driver did a review on the pedal pub (mostly tongue and cheek but some interesting tit-bits too.)
    http://blog.caranddriver.com/beer-run-we-test-the-pedalpub-a-16-person-alcohol-fueled-party-bike/

    For instance, with 10 peddlers and a 25 gallon cooler of beer on board, the put the vehicle weight at 4376 lbs… for reference that’s pretty close to the curb weight of a 2015 Ford F-150.
    They gave it a top speed of 12 miles per hour, though they list 5mph as a “relaxed cruising speed”
    They also suggest a 47 second quarter mile time…

  • Kassie

    One of the reasons I dislike Pedal Pub is that it has a different set of rule applied to it. On Pedal Pub, you can bike down the street drinking. On your own bike, that is illegal. You can’t walk through the streets of Minneapolis or St. Paul with a beer in hand. This also applies to things like the Music in Mears concert series where it is totally ok on those days to drink in the park, just not any other day.

    • johnepeacock

      The passengers are the only people who are drinking. It’s akin to a party bus.

      • Kassie

        Not the same thing. This is open drinking of alcohol on city streets. In theory, a party bus is enclosed and can’t be seen by everyone walking by.

        Though party buses are just another example of one rule for special people that is different than the rules for everyone else. You can drink on a party bus, you can’t drink in the back of a van. All classist rules where if you have enough money or look the right part you can do the thing that is illegal for everyone else.

        • jon

          You could if the van is operating as a limousine.

          In either the case of the limo or the party bus the driver needs a commercial driver’s license…

          No idea if the Pedal pub requires a CDL to drive it…

        • johnepeacock

          According to the law you’re incorrect. It may not be common sense, but they are operating lawfully. On a related note, you can hop on your bike completely drunk in Minneapolis and not be ticketed. A DUI only applies to motorized vehicles. It’s not common sense perhaps, but it is lawful.

        • what does “being seen” have to do with anything?

        • MNAdam

          Classist rules? Last time I was on a party bus was for a girls birthday, a tattoo covered blue haired part time bartender student. Probably makes less than $20k a year…

          Definitely the money and look the world places on a pedestal.

    • Mason

      On Pedal Pub, a sober driver is controlling the vehicle. On your own bike, you are controlling the vehicle. Not too hard to understand.

      Your comment might make sense if you don’t think intoxicated people should be allowed to ride as passengers, but I’m assuming you don’t.

      • Kassie

        I don’t care about the driving, moving vehicle part. I care about why do they get to drink out in the open when others can’t. Maybe a better analogy is why can’t I drink in the back of a pickup truck with 12 friends if the driver only goes 5mph? Or on a float being pulled by a car? Or on one of those huge contraptions powered by pedal power you see at the Mayday Parade?

        • Mason

          Oh, so you are one ‘those people’ who wants to stop other people from having fun because you can’t do exactly what you want.

          • Kassie

            No, I want laws applied across the board evenly. As long as the cities continue to pick up people for drinking in public, then no one should be able to. The police use this law to punish poor and homeless people while allowing frat boys and suburban moms to be drunk assholes in residential neighborhoods.

          • Mason

            They are being applied across the board. The cities have specifically said that PedalPubs are acceptable.

          • Jerry

            I’m sure those Burnsville cops would totally been ok with a group of 12 African American men driving around residential streets in Burnsville openly drinking and intoxicated in the back of a pickup truck

          • Mason

            If they were in a PedalPub following PedalPub regulations, then were wouldn’t be an issue. The race-baiting is disgusting. You get 12 white friends to ride around drinking the back of a truck around any city or suburb an see how long you last. If you stand by your comment you seriously do it.

          • Jerry

            Ah yes, because we all know public nuisance laws are applied equally.

          • Mason

            Then try it.

          • Jerry

            Are you double dog daring me? You make a compelling argument, but unfortunately I’m not 12

        • really? THAT is your issue?

      • Throwing the usual warning flag. If you have a comment, make it to the issue. Do NOT judge other commenters.

    • Postal Customer

      It’s probably legal because it was invented after the extremely alcohol-averse puritanical early days of Minnesota. It wouldn’t have survived prohibition, and nowadays you’d have people lobbying for and against relegalizing it, just like with Sunday sales.

    • JB

      I would imagine that part of it is that they operate on a commercial license and insurance policy versus being just an individual with dinking friend in the back of the car. Since operating as a business they have standards and agreements in place with insurers and management that they are not able to participate. On a personal note I would hate to drive people around who are actively drinking, at least not my friends. 🙂

      • Kassie

        Yes, this is my point. They create laws that make it ok for people with money to do something and prohibit those without it from doing the same thing.

        • JB

          I don’t think the laws are to favor others. Any person is able to participate in a party bus or peddle pub business and any person could open a business similar to these services (of course socioeconomic factors play into who can afford these things). I do believe that I understand what you are saying, but believe that the government and society at large prefer to have someone they can hold accountable. In these cases the business would be held accountable and in private cases it would be perceived as a larger societal problem. I think I understand your frustration because as I stated I would not want to drive around others, I may enjoy a drink while heading up north camping while my buddy is driving, and current laws to not allow that.

        • KTFoley

          Anyone can pick something up in a store and walk out with it, as long as he or she gives enough money to the cashier before departing. Those who don’t pay are charged with stealing.

          By your logic, that’s a special rule for special people with money.

          • Kassie

            No, everyone is required to pay at a store, so the same rule applies to everyone. And it is a private establishment, so it can make different rules for different people (or different prices) as long as it doesn’t discriminate against protected classes.

          • KTFoley

            Everyone is required to pay to use the pedal pub, like the store. The pedal pub is a private establishment, like a store.

            Operating a commercial enterprise doesn’t amount to elitism. Regulations that set the conditions to permit the operation of that commercial enterprise don’t amount to special treatment.

            The class argument isn’t really holding up.

    • Daniel

      On a Pedal Pub you’re not biking….. Someone else is steering… Why do you think they are biking?

  • Gary F

    It’s just a big distraction from us talking about real news in the country: the appellate courts ruling on President Obama’s amnesty plans, Bernie Sanders asking for a 90% tax rate, the multitude of murders in Baltimore, IRS getting hacked, the Clinton’s daily dose of corruption, the new 7 million dollar ramp for the Senates new office building.

    Plenty of things to get outraged over, and I haven’t even got to the Middle East yet.

    Militant bicyclists ambushing beer pedal carts, now that is news!

  • Derek

    In Nordeast, we’re on prime Pedal Pub routes. You’ll see signs that say “Neighbors against Pedal Pubs” and “Neighbors against Neighbors against Pedal Pubs.” I want a sign that says “Indifferent about Pedal Pubs.”

  • Jerry

    My primary problem with pedal pubs is not that they operate, it’s that they operate in such a bad way. Have some control over your passengers. Provide bathrooms for them. Don’t go down lyndale at rush hour. Control the noise better. Be good neighbors. All that will lessen the hate.

  • Terry Long

    My two favorite modes of transportation are pedal pub and gay pride parade. On a gay pride parade you don’t get very far and you don’t get there very fast but the trip is fabulous.

  • Jeff Etlicher

    As a delivery driver that works in downtown Minneapolis regularly the sober people on bikes are way scarier and less predictable than the Peddle Pub

  • MNAdam

    “Reinan raises another possibility — hatred of the suburbs.”

    Fastest way to identify people that recently moved into the city from the suburbs: they’ll start conversations with “in [x city] everyone does [y] for [z reason] ” and constantly bring up the suburbs and suburbanites.

    If they didn’t like a little noise they shouldn’t have moved from the quiet suburbs. Stop trying to turn one thing into the other. They both have their place.

    • As I said on the Pedal Hub podcast yesterday (which I don’t think has been released yet), this whole story provides “proxy issues” for debates that never end. This story is full of them. There are some “issue debates” that people just constantly want to have. Suburb v. city is one of them. It gets tiring.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    Peddle Pubs seem harmless to me as long as no one is being belligerent. The only thing about these pedal vehicles, whatever they are called, is that if they’re on a bike path they take up too much space. It seems kind of corney, but that’s my opinion because I am inclined to drink in low lit, seedy bars that attract alcoholics. I personally don’t need to be parading around my love for alcohol as it is really a more private and intimate activity for me.

  • Al

    We lived in Summit Hill for a few years. I don’t remember a lot of suburbanites on the pedal pubs–just hipsters. GAHHHHH. HIPSTERS.

    • Uh, no. I don’t believe I’ve EVER seen a “hipster” on a pedal pub.

      • Al

        When they were new, the hipsters were all over them. Now they’re passé in hipsterland.

  • Arky Vaughan

    I don’t see why Pedal Pubs are legal. It encourages drinking and driving – it certainly wouldn’t be legal if me and my buddies were driving around and drinking even though I, as the “pilot” would be sober. They block and impede traffic. My understanding is that it took a change in state law in 2009 to allow this public nuisance. The law should be changed back.
    No harm no foul. If people want to do this kind of thing do it on private property and not on public roadways.

  • Reminder: NewsCut comments must be made under a real name. First names are fine.

  • Tom Bernhardt

    Multiple layers of stupidity…. then I read the comments. Sigh. Haters are gonna hate (says the guy with 26+ years of sobriety that thinks pedal pubs are pretty funny.)