BRADENTON -- It's been almost two months since the Bradentucky Bombers were seen pedaling down Old Main Street on the newly proposed business PedalPub, which offers groups a drinking tour of the downtown area, including stops at the Motorworks and Darwin breweries.
The inaugural July event, featuring the rough-and-tough Bomber beauties, was intended to showcase what the PedalPub was all about, and the sight of the Bombers sipping beer and wine while helping propel the 16-person bike through the streets raised a lot of enthusiasm.
"We have been getting calls from people trying to book tours ever since," said PedalPub manager Krista Bertelson.
However, the business was only in town in July to show off one of its custom-made bikes built by two craftsmen in Amsterdam and had yet to file for their city business license. That paperwork has taken close to two months, but the Bradenton City Council unanimously approved the license Wednesday, and after the morning meeting, Bertelson said: "We are open for business."
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The PedalPub, new to Bradenton, has been operating in St. Petersburg for almost three years and in other northern states for nine years. Bertelson, a Bradenton resident, has been paying attention to what she called "forward-thinking" city officials who are renewing the "energy and nightlife of Bradenton.
"People south of the Skyway bridge tend to stay south, so we thought this would be a unique and fun thing for Bradenton that will attract visitors from Sarasota and further south," Bertelson said.
She said people come from as far as Winter Haven to do the tours in St. Pete and the business plan includes a good economic impact to their business and businesses the PedalPub visits along the way.
"It's about a two-hour tour and, depending on the group, we start from Motorworks and head south to Darwin's, through the Village of the Arts and down Old Main Street to the waterfront and then back to Motorworks," said Bertelson.
While the group helps propel the mobile pub down the street, Bertelson said the driver is in complete control at all times. Group members are signaled when to start and stop peddling and the driver has a double braking system to ensure the vehicle stops safely.
Group members bring their own beer or wine on the trip. No hard liquor or glass containers are allowed.
"We are absolutely super excited to get started," said Bertelson. "This has been a seamless process and the city has been very helpful and respectful in moving this forward."
Bertelson even received a letter from state Rep. Greg Steube congratulating her for bringing a unique business to Bradenton and offered his best wishes for success.
"We are happy to be able to get out onto the street," said Bertleson. "We are a trusted national business. We know the ins and outs and run a very strong, safe business."
If part of a group, the average cost per person is about $23, and slightly higher for mixed singles tours where individuals are encouraged to join the ride.
"We are very excited and know from when they did their prelaunch that they are bringing a lot of excitement to the area and we are happy to be a part of that," said Barry Elwonger, marketing manager for Motorworks. "It's going to bring a lot of visibility to the area, especially as the entertainment corridor continues to grow. It's going to be great for the city to have people moving through town to the different stops, which will help people know more about the city and all it has to offer."
The approval of the business license didn't come without some conversation from city officials concerned the city has no ordinance regulating such a unique business. Safety concerns were expressed but appear to have been alleviated.
However, city staff is recommending a possible modification to city ordinances to include this type of business. The approval is contingent on the PedalPub adapting to any further regulations adopted in the future.
For more information about PedalPub, call 727-581-3388.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.