Story of the Century: Hipster Cyclists vs. Suburban Cops in Pedal Pub Melee

On May 6, 2492, assuming we haven’t made any major changes, the eight planets of the solar system will align. Until then, we’ll have to entertain ourselves with lesser celestial events, like Halley’s Comet, or with what is possibly the most perfect news story to ever hit the Twin Cities.

By now, you will have heard of the weekend brawl featuring some number of cyclists shooting squirt guns and throwing water balloons at Pedal Pubs in Downtown Minneapolis. After allegedly (?) coordinating their attack on the “I hate the Pedal Pub” Facebook group, the dastardly alleged (?) assailants rendezvoused in Loring Park before carrying out their attack. After allegedly (?) hitting two pubs, the group managed to pick one carrying…six off-duty Burnsville police officers, and were…detained. Five were charged with misdemeanors yesterday. Here is the video! Warning: Language.

They really went for it! Lots going on with cops lately, though also, don’t squirt anyone in the face with anything without their consent, rude. There are over 700 comments on the initial Star Tribune article! Your uncle in Sauk Rapids probably had quite a bit to say on Facebook about it. If you are going to break any laws (don’t) I would recommend doing so further than tens of feet away from the 1st Precinct, which is what this intersection is.

This story has it all!

  • Booze
  • Bikes
  • Burnsville

Pedal Pubs are a great target for criticism and critical water balloons because they touch all sorts of different perceived and actual changes that are going on in the Twin Cities right now. Bill Lindeke wrote an excellent and extensive defense of Pedal Pubs on his personal blog just over two years ago; since then both core cities have continued to add tens of thousands of new residents, it has gotten harder to park in Downtown Minneapolis, and the Green Line has opened. Also, someone very strategically told everyone that there is a word, “gentrification,” that means “new thing that I do not like,” which is unfortunately not what that means, but it gives lots of people a pseudo-academic way to complain that the world is not preserved in amber.

As a city resident and occasional tool, I do not hate the Pedal Pub! I am agnostic on the Pedal Pub, though probably leaning slightly in favor, largely for the reasons Bill talked about in that post a couple of years ago. I have been on four Pedal Pubs, three in the salty haze not too long after and including my 21st birthday, and then one last summer. Though the one last summer felt different–blasting DMX while stopped at a stop light on a largely empty Nicollet Mall at 6:00 PM, surrounded by people waiting for the bus? Nah, not something I necessarily need to do again.

But, there are no shortage of drunk locals puking on tables at the Red Dragon and hollering at cars on Lyndale Avenue, away from the areas with all the new apartment buildings and $12 cocktails. On the 18 bus last week, I saw a woman, disembarking with a stroller, screaming miscellaneous profanity at another woman, currently pregnant. Today on the bus there was a tapioca pudding container sitting face down on a seat, pudding spread all about. Life is complicated! People do dumb things on the weekends everywhere, that’s the point.

If you really want to strike back, steer clear of those assault charges, take the Blue Line to the Red Line to the Apple Valley Red Robin, and hit up that Happy Hour.

Nick Magrino

About Nick Magrino

Nick Magrino grew up all over the place but has lived in the Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis longer than anywhere else. He has a new cat, Sweater, and does not use hashtags at @nickmagrino. He is probably on a bus right now.

14 thoughts on “Story of the Century: Hipster Cyclists vs. Suburban Cops in Pedal Pub Melee

  1. UrbanDoofus

    Legal for an off duty drunk police officer to place someone under arrest in another jurisdiction?


  2. Matt Brillhart

    Most surprising to me in this whole ordeal were the ages of the “attackers”: 24, 26, 31, 31, and 42(!). What the what? At nearly 33 years old myself, I’m certainly not above mild hooliganery and minor infractions of the law every now and then, but damn – I would have guessed the assailants would have ranged anywhere from 10-15 years younger with the oldest being in their mid-late twenties.

    1. Nick MagrinoNick Magrino Post author

      This is one of those things that, while clearly stupid and not a good idea to right now Nick, I could see myself having participated in if my life had gone like…1% differently at various strategic chokepoints.

      1. Wayne

        I feel exactly this way. I even maybe sort of know an involved party.

        That said, I’m conflicted:

        1- I really hate the pedal pubs and the people who ride them
        2- squirting strangers with squirt guns is a jerk thing to do and I’d probably be mad if someone did it to me
        3- I also really hate overbearing cops who assume they always have authority and impunity to do as they please, even when off duty and out of jurisdiction (or drunk!)
        4- drunk meatheads beating people up over squirt guns is stupid
        5- clearly the legal system has a huge gap between slap on the wrist (ticket?) for misguided pranks and actual assault
        5a- sort of ironic that the one’s who actually physically assaulted someone were the cops who are not in any way charged with a crime, because, you know, thin blue line and all that. somehow it’s ok to respond to squirt guns with physical violence and our government considers that ‘justified’? I’m guessing these same guys probably get in bar fights with zero consequences too.

        So I’m kind of coming down more on the side of the squirters than the squirtees, but it’s one of those things where I don’t feel like anyone has a clear moral high ground. Everyone kind of sucks in this–especially the complacent media painting it as terrorists assaulting pedal pubs, neglecting to mention the actual physical violence in response (because they wouldn’t want to anger the police spokesperson who might give them a comment down the line).

  3. Tom NehilTom Nehil

    Judging by the bar ends and *ugh* gears on the bike in the center of the video, I challenge the idea that these were “hipster” cyclists. Also, the MPR story says one of the squirters is from Inver Grove Heights (could be living in the ‘burbs ironically I suppose).

  4. Steven Prince

    Pretty much agree with everything said here. Once you get past the irony of the entire situation I find it very troubling what the video suggests about police conduct/methods/training, which seem designed to escalate the physicality and violence of the situation – not cool for “peace officers.” Anyone seen this video for a contrasting approach:

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