I rode the Traveling Tap and it was incredible.
The Traveling Tap is one of those beer bikes that Minnesotans love to hate. I myself was a card carrying member of the “I hate the Pedal Pub” Facebook group for some time. No longer.
Never has a finer vehicle been created than the Bar Bicycle. An elegant mix of comfort and a blatant disregard for antiquated Blue Laws combine to make for the most enjoyable experience a citizen can enjoy while traversing the roads of our fair cities at a blistering 5 mph.
It was a sunny Saturday morning, a friend’s birthday. A friend who, ironically, does not imbibe alcohol, so our trip on The Tap was not a tour of local bars. It was instead a tour of local bakeries, a critically important choice in retrospect. We started at Sarah Jane’s bakery on Johnson and 29th in Northeast at 10am. After the first round of donuts we boarded The Tap and headed towards Aki’s bakery on Central. Beers were cracked and Bloody Marys were made for our 1 mile journey.
But now my Bloody was at a 45 degree angle in my solo cup. Wind whipped through my hair. We were bombing the hill on Lowry at 20 mph on a rolling hunk of restaurant furniture. Terror gripped me, but it was that $35 dollar terror you find at ValleyFair. Our valiant chauffeur, a strapping Saint Paul bro in a backwards baseball cap named Kirby, stood from his driver’s seat during our dive bomb and laughed as maniacally as his baritone would allow. I barked nervous laughter as we slid gracefully to a stop at the bottom of the hill and finished my drink in two gulps.
Our lumbering hulk then turned onto Central Avenue, a stroad or, as it is so often and lovingly called, a four lane death road. I was a bit nervous swinging out onto the roadway with a maximum speed of a fat corgi, but not only were we perfectly safe riding that churning party bike, everyone using the road with us was safer. Traffic slowed around us. No, we didn’t make a traffic jam, people just had to deal with the fact that we reduced the effective number of lanes on the road to three. We forced conscious driving by being so big and so slow. Without wide open spaces, motorists were doing uncharacteristic things like obeying the speed limit, using their blinkers, and most out of character of all: They were friendly.
I cannot tell you the number of happy little horn toots we got as we trundled along, not to mention all the happy cheers from open windows and friendly waves from neighbors on the street. Sure, there was the guy in a big white SUV who did give me the finger, but in his defense I did wave jovially at him while holding a beer. Jealousy is hard for some people. We got courteous nods from a couple of cops and I have photographic proof that the Minneapolis Fire Department are now my new best friends.
After fabulous savory pastries at Aki’s, we rolled joyously through Northeast’s side streets for the next hour, ending with much laughter at Glam Doll Donuts. Party favors were passed out, I wore a Batman mask, and had a top 10 morning of my entire life. More importantly, I had probably a bigger positive effect on our city’s safety and traffic, while drinking in public, than in a year’s worth of advocacy.
Traveling Tap: 10/5 stars.
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