Grab a barstool — and start pedaling.
It might just be the newest thing coming to downtown. Lawrence entrepreneur Luke Stone has asked City Hall leaders to consider a change in city code that would allow for a new type of pedal-powered vehicle that will seat up to 16 people around a bar-like table.
“I saw it and just thought this was a perfect thing for downtown Mass. Street,” said Stone, who has researched a similar business that operates in Minneapolis.
The concept is that Stone serves as the professional driver, but not the professional peddler. Instead, patrons do the peddling. Stone does the steering and the braking.
“It is meant to be a fun way to share good times and cruise around and look at downtown,” Stone said.
The Minneapolis business is called PedalPub and allows customers to bring their own food and alcoholic beverages on board. Stone said that was his original thought for the Lawrence business, but now says he understands the alcohol concept may create too many concerns for downtown.
Instead, he thinks the business can work by allowing people to bring their own food and nonalcoholic beverages on board. If the business runs smoothly, Stone said he then may approach the city about allowing the alcohol.
“We are not trying to create a bar or a restaurant,” Stone said.
City commissioners haven’t yet approved the concept in any form. The business likely would require some tweaking of city code. Commissioners on Tuesday received Stone’s request, and directed staff members to prepare a report. That is likely in the next several weeks.
Stone envisions charging about $175 an hour for customers to rent the vehicle. Routes could include trips up and down Massachusetts Street and various side streets in the downtown area. Stone also would like to offer trips to Memorial Stadium, although some routes would be out of the question because the vehicle doesn’t do well on grades of 5 percent or more.
Top speed for the vehicle is about 5 mph, but Stone said he thinks it could fit in well on Massachusetts Street and other routes where traffic moves slowly.
“I kind of equate it to the horse-and-buggy carriages on the Plaza,” Stone said. “There are ways vehicles can go around them.”
The city earlier this year did approve another pedal-powered request. Lawrence entrepreneur Shane Powers successfully lobbied commissioners to allow a traditional pedi-cab to operate in parts of the city. His cab business — which will operate smaller rickshaw type of units and won’t have the food and drink component — should begin operating in the next couple weeks. Powers also does all the pedaling.
“I just rode to Eudora the other day as part of my training,” Powers said.