Running on unleaded
Ban on beer hasn’t slowed pedal-powered party wagon
The party trolley came to Spokane last year, but owner Nina Kindem had to adapt her business model after the state Liquor Control Board put a halt to riders drinking beer on the trolley, billed a “pedal-powered party on the move.”
Now, carbonated water and flavored syrups have replaced the on-board keg of beer.
“We don’t fit in any category,” Kindem said. “We’re not a limo, were not a charter vehicle, we’re not a taxi, we’re not by legal definition a bicycle. It is always a little bit unclear to the powers that be and us in the party bike business as to what we really are.”
But no one will go thirsty, she said. She’s keeping the party going through partnerships with other local businesses. Groups who ride on the 16-passenger trolley can select up to three stops at bars and restaurants, which offer riders deals on food and drink.
“It was a threat to my passengers that I couldn’t handle, so we stopped,” she said of the state Liquor Control Board’s warning it would ticket tippling passengers. “I went back to my original intent to begin with, and that is to work with locally owned businesses and ask if they want to be part of our stops.”
The trolley isn’t just for pub crawls. Kindem says it can be rented for team building, tailgating, weddings, city tours and “progressive dinner parades.” She also helps in fundraisers for local nonprofits.
Each two-hour tour includes a tour guide and music. There’s space for 16 riders on the trolley, including 10 pedalers. PedalPub distributes the bikes, which originated in Amsterdam. About 40 states have the bikes, but only three allow drinking: Texas, Colorado and Minnesota, Kindem said.
Travis Dickinson hopped aboard the Party Trolley recently for a friend’s birthday. They chose the pub crawl option and visited a few downtown bars.
“It was fun,” Dickinson said. “It was a good way to get around on a nice day.”
Dickinson said he saw the same type of business when he lived in Portland, but the liquor board there also stopped that operation from serving beer.
“You’re basically not allowed to do anything fun involving alcohol,” he said.
Nevertheless, he said he’d ride the Spokane Party Trolley again if he had the opportunity.
“They made it a good experience,” he said. “The driver guy was super fun and kept the party spirit alive.”