Party bike can now serve craft beer on tours around Calgary

It’s now legal to sip a local craft beer while riding a 15-person party bike in Calgary, the first city in Canada to allow the activity.

15-person party beer bike is the first of its kind in Canada with licence to serve alcohol

Bikers sip alcohol during a Pedal Pub Calgary tour in June. (Mike Symington/CBC)

It is now legal to sip a local craft beer while riding a 15-person party bike in Calgary, the first city in Canada to allow the activity. 

Pedal Pub Calgary launched tours on its pedal-powered patios this spring. 

And as of last week, after months of working with the city and province, the company has a licence to serve passengers alcohol on-the-go. 

Pedal Pub Calgary owner David Skabar says his business is going to bring business to other local businesses it showcases on tours. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"When you see it on the street, people are having a fabulous time," said Gian-Carlo Carra, city councillor for Ward 9. "It's a smile-maker."

The company offers two-hour tours on the bikes, at a pace of nine kilometres an hour, around Inglewood and the Beltline. 

"They're certainly earning and burning their calories," said David Skabar, owner and co-founder of Pedal Pub Calgary. 

Cracking open a cold one on a bike

Passengers can pre-purchase alcohol — a selection of local beers, ciders and pre-made cocktails — before they hop aboard a 2,400 lb. bright yellow bike. 

During stops on the tour, the designated driver — who doubles as a ProServe-certified server and who Skabar calls their "beer-less leader" — pours the others drinks. 

The server also monitors to make sure no one is getting "overly intoxicated," Skabar said. 

"We're taking people out of the public domain and bringing them into a controlled environment to make sure they are consuming their alcohol in a safe and responsible manner," he said. 

The party bike will only be serving local craft beer, ciders and pre-made mixed drinks. (CBC)

Skabar said the company has been working alongside the city and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) to ensure the appropriate safety policies are in place. 

He added that it's the only company he's aware of in North America that can serve party bike participants. 

Nashville has a similar party bike, but cyclists have to bring their own booze on board if they want a drink. 

"This is an amazing local business that has sprung out of the Barley Belt and Brewery Flats and is taking people on active-mode party bus tours of our incredible craft beer scene," Carra said.

Booming bike business

The councillor said he's noticed the business, whose headquarters are in his ward, has been "unbelievably well subscribed." 

The company has given 200 tours since it got started 11 weeks ago, after six months of preparation. 

As for the patio's noise and the traffic it causes due to its slow pace, Carra said it's hard not to smile when you see 15 people having a great time on the bike. 

Pedal Pub Calgary passengers stop on a tour in June. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Skabar agreed, adding that, "people have been overwhelmingly positive when they see us in traffic, even though we're going nine kilometres an hour and sometimes there can be a bit of a log jam behind us." 

Pedal Pub Calgary offers private and public tours, which run 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. 

It costs $50 to hop on a public tour or $599, about $40 per person, on the 15-person bike for a private tour. 

With files from Mike Symington


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