Archive for Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Entrepreneur aims to bring new pedal-powered business to downtown Lawrence

City to give opinion on business modeled after Minnesota venture

March 24, 2010


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.


SofaKing 7 years, 10 months ago

Let's promote more drinking AND show it off by pedaling through downtown. Oh, honey, look at the cute drunk college students, how charming. Stupid idea because Luke Stone makes money at the expense of people who just want to go to Juice Stop.

frank mcguinness 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, healthcare moocher, he is a small business, the kind conservatards typically support.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 10 months ago

I saw one of these when I was in Rotterdam several years ago. Interesting at best. It was quite the attention grabber. It also took up a fair amount of space as it lumbered down the sidewalk.

CLARKKENT 7 years, 10 months ago



William McCauley 7 years, 10 months ago

It will fit right in when they close off mass st. to cars and make it a Lance Johnson walking mall with peddle cabs. LOL , Hey if these guys want to take a risk and start a small business no one else is currently doing in town, more power to them, it's american way and after all if they fail they start a bar or restaurant on mass st., we have to much shopping and not enough places to dine and drink as it is.

gossipgirl785 7 years, 10 months ago

I think it is a nice idea. I like the carriages at the plaza. Even if the drinking idea doesn't work, it would be a nice ride. I think it would work! Good Luck and hope to see it soon :) . Too many HATERS on here as usual! I LOVE LAWRENCE AND NEW IDEAS HELP KEEP US INTERESTING AND LOTS OF VISITORS WHICH WOULD BE GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY!

Janet Lowther 7 years, 10 months ago

Wait a minute, April fools day isn't till next week. . .

This contraption sounds like an expensive novelty toy at best.

Paul Geisler 7 years, 10 months ago

I suggest you check out the link they provided in the article or just Google PedalPub and take a look at the pictures. I've had friends in the Twin Cities ride the PedalPub and they had a blast! Of course, Mpls is hip enough to allow people to drink in public downtown so that's a significant difference. But I believe the overall concept is still very viable for downtown Lawrence as a means of bar-hopping and socializing. In case many of you forgot, you're only supposed to drive 20 mph down Mass Street anyway so I don't see what the problem is with having something like this operating within specific times of the night and for large events.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 10 months ago

It sounds like a better fit for Aggieville than downtown Lawrence.

Here's the problem: what if the Topeka gang crowd shows up and starts shooting up his "bar"? There'd be bullets flying all over town.

My take: drinking + pedaling + hot weather = hurling. Sixteen barfing drunks.

mcontrary 7 years, 10 months ago

I'd rather see horse-drawn carriages. The idea sounds like fun as long as the occupants are belted or harnessed in and wearing bike helmets or there will be inebreiated folks falling in the aisles and out the doors and not enough pedal power to get back to home basee.

overjoy 7 years, 10 months ago

I think it's a great idea, and would add business and the fun of downtown. As for traffic, it's been proven to work fine in Minneapolis even on two lane streets there is plenty of room to get by. Traffic on Mass st. at night moves very slowly anyway- people tend to sit and wait for people to pull out of spots half the time

It's not just for college kids wanting to go to bars either- in MN they've been rented out for corporate events, family reunions, singles mixers, conventions, bachelor/bachelorette parties, progressive dinners, picnics wedding carriages- all kinds of people, even groups who do not drink. Sounds like fun to me, hope this happens!

pizzapete 7 years, 10 months ago

I read this article this morning and discussed it with co-workers today. Had to read it again when I got home. So this is an early April Fools Day article right? What a brilliant idea. Is the driver the one who will be mixing the drinks?

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