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PedalPub eyes Rochester

The owners of the Twin Cities-based PedalPub hope to expand their pedaling bar business to Rochester this summer, offering one 16-person bicycle for rent downtown.

The owners of the Twin Cities-based PedalPub hope to expand their pedaling bar business to Rochester this summer, offering one 16-person bicycle for rent downtown.

PedalPub rents 12 of the pedal cars in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Shakopee and is the originator of the business in the United States, company representative Krista Bertelson told Rochester City Council members Monday during the council's committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Bertelson would be PedalPub's "pilot" in Rochester — that is, the person who steers the bike and has the brakes. In addition to a seat for the pilot, the bicycles, manufactured in the Netherlands, have 10 seats with pedals and six seats for those who just want to sit and enjoy the ride.

Groups of eight to 16 people rent the bikes for company outings, parties, weddings, bar- or restaurant-hopping and other events.

Council members discussed the company's intention to be licensed for operation in Rochester. They also discussed a proposed ordinance that would regulate commercial pedal-car businesses in the city. Similar to an ordinance adopted last year for pedicab businesses, the ordinance addresses licensing, safety requirements and permissible routes.

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Drinking while pedaling

Although PedalPub does not provide food or beverages of any kind, patrons are allowed to bring their own for their two-hour journeys, which prompted some concern and questions from city council members.

In Minneapolis, pedal-car riders are limited, basically, to beer, wine and hard cider, which is what Deputy City Attorney Dave Goslee included in the draft ordinance for Rochester.

Bertelson assured the council that safety is the company's top priority and said that, during its six years in business, has had no accidents, tickets or insurance claims.

Although the barrel on the front of the bicycle looks like a beer barrel, it is actually used as a trash can, she said.

"These are made in Amsterdam. The barrels are made for a keg, but we don't put kegs in there," she said.

Council member Mark Bilderback asked how the company handles bad behavior by patrons on the bicycles. Bertelson said it doesn't happen often, but the company has a zero tolerance policy.

"They'll be kicked off the bike. And they just stay where they're left. And we'd be happy to call them a taxi," she said.

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Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson told the council his department checked into the business in Minneapolis. He said he found no issues and PedalPub appears to be a "well-run business.

"And there are some advantages. You have between 10 and 16 people drinking, but during a relatively short period of time. And, you have adult supervision," Peterson said.

Council members instructed Goslee to make a few changes to the proposed ordinance, including allowing the council to change the routes for pedal cars simply with a resolution, rather than requiring a longer, more complicated amendment process.

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