Thebeerchaser has seen the vehicle referred to as “Party Bikes” – in various cities ranging from Seattle to Denver to Amsterdam. In each case, the riders were exuberant and obviously having a good time.
Thanks to the generosity of Kenzie Larson, a group of us hopped aboard this mode of transport on a summer Sunday afternoon to hit a few SE Portland watering holes.
Lloyd - the erstwhile driver, owner (his company name is “Pedalounge“), cheerleader, safety officer and coxswain – after collecting our liability waivers, (much less onerous than what I signed before zip-lining in Alaska) gave us a brief admonition to be cautious and obey the rules.
One of these was no partaking of alcohol while we were pedaling – something that made sense and is not the case in all cities licensing these vehicles. Another was, “Pedalounge loves good friends, laughs and an ice-cold beer and does not believe that riding a big bike entitles anyone to be rude or annoying.” (emphasis supplied)
Lloyd barked encouragement and a lot of funny lines – some about his native state of Minnesota – he moved to Portland because his watch was two hours slow and he couldn’t fix it. He measured our pace – at one time an impressive 5 mph – and urged us onward – we responded out of a sense of morbid curiosity.
His recitation of the rules was not necessary, because all of us – even though we were not wearing helmets – as if anointed by the Goddess of Two Wheels, became subservient in our attitude toward automobiles, self-righteously obeyed all traffic signals and gratuitously wanted to share the road with autos while refraining from operating on sidewalks.
Perhaps we were reflecting on HG Wells statement, “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race,” although I assume he might amend that assertion if he saw the Pedalounge that day. Lloyd asked us what bars we wanted to visit and helped us formulate a route, which both started and ended at the Green Dragon in Southeast Portland.
We then pedaled – drawing waves and cheers from envious passersby – to our first stop, The Lucky Lab Brew Pub on SE Hawthorne. We spent about 30 minutes there and each bar thereafter. The collaborative effort to develop enough thrust to push our conveyance generated a team spirit which was celebrated at Lucky Lab.
Rejuvenated, we mounted up and spurred on by Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty,” attained an impressive velocity.
We arrived at The Baerlic Brewery and Taproom - a new micro-brewery, like many, started by two gents (Ben Parsons and Richard Hall) who for years brewed our favorite beverage in their basement and opened this enterprise in 2013.
“Baerlic” is an old-english adjective meaning “of barley.” The selection is somewhat limited with only three of their beers on tap – and it is a small and sparsely furnished space, but the beer was good – most notably the Invincible IPA.
By this time, we all were thoroughly enamored with Lloyd and his enterprise and since we thought it might be imprudent to nominate him for elective office, we brainstormed ideas to support him.
One was to bring the Pedalounge to the Pendleton Roundup this fall. Another was for a cross-country Pedalounge trip.
Jamie Magnusson, my son-n-law and an engineer with advanced math skills, started calculating. It was like the old SAT math problem: “If one Pedalounge started a cross-country trek from Portland and another simultaneously headed West from Virginia Beach, when and where would they meet.”
Jamie figured, if the East Coast group, first headed south, they would meet in Salina, Kansas on Interstate 70 at the appropriately named Rendezvous Bar on Santa Fe Avenue. There could be ceremony reminiscent of the Golden Spike in 1869 at Promontory Summit in Utah when the Union and Central Pacific Railroad tracks met to complete the first US transcontinental railroad. Unfortunately, the only review of this bar was a 2010 Yelp one-star and this excerpt does not portend a good result. “Reviews are obviously subjective. Some people clearly enjoy this bar. Due to my preferences, I simply don’t, and would never step in it again.” (The references to the condition of the bathroom is omitted in the interest of prudence.)
We discarded the idea when he revealed that even assuming we averaged 3 miles per hour (probably not going to happen over the Rocky Mountains) and pedaled 12 hours per day with minimal bathroom breaks, it would take each Pedalounge 42 days to reach Salinas. Although, based on one bike that caught my attention at the Portland Art Museum’s Cyclepedia Exhibit in 2013, one of us could make the trip solo on this bike shown below:
Lloyd, rounded us up and we headed for our third stop – Apex on SE Division. He resisted the temptation to play some Gaelic tunes to increase our velocity.
Apex, like the Green Dragon, has an impressive selection of beer (50 on tap) -my favorite was an innovative and very spicy Diablo Rojo En Fuego from Bend’s Boneyard Brewing (“ Poured deep amber/red with a thin head. Great chili pepper flavor without being too heavy on the spice and heat…” – “ratebeer” blog)
Apex has been named multiple times (2010 -13) as one of the five Portland bars to make Draft Magazine’s “100 Best Beer Bars in the United States:
“Whether you’re inside the sleek aluminum bar eyeing the real-time digital tap menu or out front tipping back pints on the fleet of picnic tables, Apex’s hoppy list of 50 brews is the perfect intro to the IBU-centric taste of the Pacific Northwest.”
While the beer selection is memorable, Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Portland’s Bars, Pubs and Taverns primary focus is the environment and character of the watering holes. And Apex, like Bailey’s Taproom (Beerchaser review in April 2014) another one of Draft Magazine’s finest, doesn’t have a lot of ambiance and serves no food.
With heavy hearts and full bladders, we headed towards our final stop – the Green Dragon with thoughts about the Circle of Life. The Green Dragon is a neat pub with a robust selection of beers. After making the 2011-12 Draft Magazine 100 Best lists, it fell off the last two years, but this 2012 description still holds:
“……the urbanesque Green Dragon tempts patrons through its garage door entrance, and keeps them hanging around with more than 50 ever-rotating taps—probably none fresher than offerings from Buckman Botanical Brewery, a small-batch brewery set up inside the Dragon. From regular meet-the-brewer nights to the annual Great American Nano Fest, this bar is one of the most craftbeer-centric venues you’ll ever find.”
While the Pendleton Round-up still might be a possibility for the Pedalounge, the cross-country trip is not, so help us support Lloyd – the epitome of humility – “I owe everything to my parents – especially my mother and father…”
Check out his website below and get a group of friends and reserve the Pedalounge. The website shows a calendar with available dates, informs you how to sign up and everything you will need. And bring some of your own music to play on the journey. Although avoid certain artists. For example, Lloyd told me, “I kind of wondered over the years why none of my patrons ever wanted John Tesh numbers. And then I realized it was because John Tesh sucks….!”
You can pick the bars in Southeast Portland you want to visit although Lloyd’s recommendations were very good. Thebeerchaser has also found after reviewing over 70 Portland bars and pubs in the last three years, that the SE area served by Pedalounge houses some of the premier establishments in our city. The Pedalounge price is a great bargain, the camaraderie is memorable and you will want to pay Lloyd a return visit to explore new watering holes.