Bike pub passengers to pedal for their pint

HAMBURG — Area residents will be able to drink craft beer in style, while getting a workout, starting May 1, when the Consumers Craft Cruiser becomes available for booking.

The foot-powered bus allows for 13 passengers to sit at a built-in bar, drink a pint and view the scenery. It measures almost 20 feet long, about 5 feet wide, 9 feet tall and weighs 1,800 pounds. The frame is composed of aluminum and steel, and while the bar is open-air, there is head coverage with a canopy. The bus also features overhead storage, individual purse and coat hooks and a bar to hold on to. There is also a six-speaker stereo, built in. 

To power the vehicle, there needs to be at least three people pedaling, but it can accommodate up to 10. There can be four non-pedaling passengers and there is a front-facing area for the driver to steer and brake. The craft cruiser will require at least eight people at a time, to ensure the optimum experience. 

As far as beverage capacity, the cruiser can hold a ¼ keg of beer, in addition to its two, 88-liter coolers that are in the floor. Partial owner of the cruiser, Matt Davison, said the bus has the capability to tap a keg for non-moving, special events like private parties and tailgates. Alcohol will not be sold on the tours, Davison said. It will operate like a limousine and the people who book the vehicle will bring their own beer.

Davison said now is the right time to start the cruiser, because of the growing popularity of craft beer in Western New York. He noted that the close proximity to Hamburg Brewing Company will be significant. 

Outside of its special event applications, people will be able to book the cruiser like a limousine, with a set route, limited to the village. 

“It’s about health and wellness, too,” the owner said. “It’s not just about going for a ride and drinking beer; it’s a more refined experience.”

Owner Matthew Pokigo said that the pedal bus will fit in to the bicycle culture that is becoming more relevant in WNY, as municipalities, like Hamburg, add bike lanes and sharrows on main roads. He added that the cruiser can be used without alcohol to operate as a shuttle for things like history tours and garden walks. 

Davison said Consumers has been a great sponsor to work with, and the cruiser could be a reason for non-residents to visit Hamburg.

At a recent meeting of the Hamburg Board of Trustees, Police Chief Dennis Gleason said he does not foresee any problems with the cruiser, because its primary use will not be soliciting alcohol to passersby, it will be limited to people on the private tour. He added that it will not be allowed on Lake Street, because there is too much traffic. 

The owner said the pedal bus came from Minnesota, where there are many similar bikes currently operating. He hopes to start offering tours in the first week of May, and said he intends on being present for Music Fest, taking place May 16, in Hamburg. 

Tours will be available in other municipalities, as well, including the village of Williamsville, East Aurora and Elmwood, but Hamburg will be its primary location.

The co-owners said the cruiser will occupy bike lanes, and has a top speed of about five miles per hour. 

“We try to be sensitive to noise complaints,” Pokigo said. “We are going to stick to the commercial district.”

In line with Hamburg village quiet hours, the owners said the cruiser will stop operating at 11 p.m. 

Though the owners said they are still working out the details, Pokigo and Davison said the regular starting point for their tours will be near the Hamburg Trolley stop.

If a tour encounters a difficult-to-overcome incline, the cruiser is equipped with an electric assist to help the peddlers make it through.

“We are proud to be here [in the village],” Pokigo said. “We are looking forward to collaborating with shops and restaurants, because that’s what the village is all about.”

For more information about booking the Consumers Craft Cruiser, email info@craftcruiser.com or call 249-1499. To find the Consumers Craft Cruiser on twitter, search using the hashtag #tonsofcool.

Andrew Manzella
The Sun
April 23, 2015