Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dutch treat

Cycling options in Minneapolis expanded this weekend, when two local entrepreneurs introduced the Dutch Fietscafe to the Twin Cities. This 16- or 17-passenger rolling pub is one "bike" that easily upstages the Cab-Bike! I cycled cycled over to the Mississippi River, enjoying the Cab-Bike's good protection against the rain and puddles, and lined up for a free ride on the Pedal Pub. (The Dutch name, we could hear from the puzzled questions -- "fights-calf? Is that the guy who built it?" -- just wouldn't work in the Midwest.) Despite the cold, rainy weather there were plenty of eager riders. More than thirty of these party bikes are for rent in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, serving tourists, wedding parties, and other groups. They aren't built for speed, but they have lovely cup-holders and an old-world tap which in Minnesota will have to dispense non-alcoholic beverages from the front-mounted keg. We rolled back and forth across the Mississippi on the Stone Arch Bridge, which has been turned over to cyclists and pedestrians. Despite the dismissive comments of a local news program's overly made-up talking head, we greatly enjoyed the ride and can only hope that more human-powered fun catches on!

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