The PedalPub — a contraption that aims to quench the Twin Cities' thirst for both beer and biking — is off to a flying start this spring.

In case you haven't seen it, the PedalPub is a 16-passenger bicycle outfitted with a bar top and keg tap, available to rent for bar-hopping tours, team-building exercises, corporate and other parties. Regular routes include downtown and northeast Minneapolis, and St. Paul.

While it tops out at only 5 miles an hour or so, demand for the PedalPub is racing as it begins its fourth year of service, co-owner Eric Olson says.

Pumped-up participants already have booked more than 120 tours for the season, which runs through October, says Olson. That's more than twice as many at the same time last year.

Olson, who teaches business classes at Normandale Community College, owns the company with Al Boyce, a fellow home-brewing enthusiast. Their venture began in April 2007 with one hand-built PedalPub, imported from Amsterdam. Olson and Boyce started 2009 with two PedalPubs and added two more during the year. They're starting this season with those four and hope to add one or two more over the summer.

"We're a big biking town, and we don't have that many months a year to get out and do something fun," Olson says of the growing appeal of the giant bike, which at 20-feet long, 9-feet tall and 2,300 pounds is about the size of a cargo van.

In 2008, the co-owners got a boost when, after a year of lobbying, they persuaded legislators to change the state's open-bottle law to allow riders to drink alcohol while pedaling.

Three and out with PedalPub’s Eric Olson

  • Any crazy stories?

Bachelorette parties go a little nuts. They want to annoy everybody around them. Strapping a five-foot penis to the back of the PedalPub when the driver isn't looking, in a residential neighborhood, isn't that neat. I got a call from an onlooker and had to tell them: "I'm really sorry your 4- and 6-year-old saw that."

  • Any injuries?

I broke my neck trying to get the thing onto the trailer and had spinal fusion surgery because of it. That's the only injury. Some scrapes and bruises. About 15,000 people have ridden on it. No tickets, no accidents.

  • How much has drinking contributed to PedalPub's growth?

I would say we would be doing probably a third less business. We'd still do good business but some folks wouldn't ride it at all if they couldn't have a beer on it.