Why do people hate the pedal pubs? Scorchy, buzzy issue about which you couldn’t care less, but it’s trending on local social media, so let’s drop everything and examine what it means. A pedal pub was beset by water balloons and squirt guns the other day — it was full of cops at the time, which violates the Peace Officer Dampening Act of 1956. There’s a Facebook page devoted to pedal pub hating. Why? you ask. Let me help.
A lot of people hate bikes, period. Not happy kids on Schwinns with streamers, but people for whom biking is a statement. I think there’s one statement you can reasonably infer from someone on a bike, and that’s “I’m on a bike.” Beyond that we are looking into someone’s mind, which is hard to do with those helmets in the way.
So people who don’t like bikes think the pedal pubs are getting a pass, and they’re right. Walk down the street drinking? That’s a ticket. Move your legs up and down while walking and drinking, and you get a ticket for impersonating a majorette leading a parade. Ride your bike while drinking beer? That’s a ticket. Move along the streets in a group of eight people, drinking, and that’s obstruction AND public drinking.
But put them all on a pedal pub, and it’s perfectly legal.
This does not justify attacking them, of course, to state the obvious for the dim and thick who have already preceded to the comments section to demonstrate what happens when you turn off spell check. Nor does it suggest we should loosen up the laws. I mean, if you legalize people on unicycles drinking in packs of 10, you’re asking for a pile of poles and busted glass. Pedal pubs are popular because they combine sitting, drinking and the illusion that you are expending the exact amount of calories you are consuming. Possibly more. Say, Bob, you’re looking trim. Have you been drinking beer while moving your legs in a circular motion?
There are some legitimate reasons to hate pedal pubs:
• The pedal pub is on the highway doing 7 miles per hour in the passing lane, and you are behind it in an ambulance watching the ice melt in the bin where they put your foot.
• When it stopped by your condo everyone got off and lit their beards on fire and pillaged the entire block.
• You were on one once and it had catheters so they didn’t have to make bathroom stops. And then you hit a bump.
Otherwise, jeez. Who cares? With all the problems in the world, like (insert your pet issue here), it seems an odd thing to get worked up about. In fact, maybe we should expand the idea, he said, using the columnist’s predictable trick of inventing absurd examples to help the piece across the finish line. Some suggestions:
• Pedal parks. The new Downtown East park design has been revealed, and as many predicted, it contains grass and trees. It will have a water feature, which will feature water. The site is already being excavated, and I’m curious why they have to dig down to make a park. I mean, cart off the asphalt and hit Home Depot for sod, and there you go. Have you bought sod recently? Carried it to the car? It’s as close as a fellow ever gets to trying to dispose of the corpse of a dwarf.
Anyway, the problem with parks is that they stay in one place. You go to a park, you’re pretty much committed to a specific park experience. What if pedal pubs were covered with sod and driven around? You’re saying, “That’s great, but what about the necessary element of interactive art?” So you include a guy named Art, and he talks back when spoken to. There you go.
• Pedal dog parks. This would be like the pedal parks, except they’re frequented by people who have more invested in their dogs than Warren Buffett has invested in the stock market. You could chat with other dog owners about dog things while the dogs trot behind. Downside: vehicle dragged on its side for six blocks when all the dogs see a rabbit.
• Pedal coffee houses. These would go faster than pedal pubs, obviously. But only for a while, because six out of 10 patrons would not be pedaling at all, and would just sit there with a laptop, sucking up the Wi-Fi.
• Pedal legislative special sessions. GOP on one side, DFL on the other. They would have to keep moving, because whichever side stops pedaling has to concede the issue. Downside: They would request to be reimbursed $9.67 per mile.
• Pedal Guthrie performances. This would be tough during the annual “Christmas Carol,” but if everyone pedaled fast to keep warm and they cut out a couple of ghosts, it’s doable. I mean, Scrooge gets the point after the first one.
• Pedal fitness clubs. This would consist of 10 people pedaling around a cart with a stationary bike or treadmill in the center. Win-win for all, but I think the best way to combine the pedal pub craze (note: not a craze) with fitness would be …
• The pedal southwest light-rail line. Four cars, each seat hooked up to a cycling apparatus. Great employment opportunities for burly men to walk down the aisle with a giant drum, beating a rhythm to keep everyone pumping.
Someone will no doubt capitalize on these opportunities, but I’m hoping someone installs bikes inside stationary bars in front of widescreen TVs that show street scenes. A pedal pub simulator, in other words. They could show street views from other countries, so you could hear yourself being cursed out in a different language.