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Jacob Abbott is a senior studying journalism and military studies at Sacramento State. He is the editor-in-chief and content managing editor for the university’s student-run newspaper, the State Hornet. After graduating the spring of 2016, he plans on working as a foreign correspondent covering conflict areas.
Sacramento To Decide On Beer Bikes
By Jacob Abbott
Sacramentans may soon be able to drink alcohol on pedicabs if the city decides to allow it.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Oct. 4 allowing cities in California to make the decision. The bill Brown signed on-board a local pedicab service goes into affect on the first of next year.
Off the Chain Bus Bike Tours owner Todd Sebastian says having the governor sign the bill on his pedicab was a moment he will never forget.
Along with local businesses, Sebastian says he worked with the city to find a viable option for operating his business in a way that will benefit the region.
“The bill passed unanimously in both houses and both sides of the aisles were really excited and worked with us,” Sebastian says. “I think the big thing was working with law enforcement. It was just making sure it was safe and secure. The quality of the bike was step one.”
Sebastian’s bike can hold about 14 passengers and two employees. There is one driver and one person tending to passengers on each tour. Most seats have pedals and face toward the center of the vehicle.
Some people argue these types of bikes will promote over consumption and pose safety concerns for drivers. Sebastian says there are certain measures his business can take to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
“Our experience is going to be different than what people are expecting,” Sebastian says. “It’s not going to be drink as much as you can. There are definitely going to be some rules in there but our experience is going to be following the Farm-2-Fork movement and making sure that the beverage consumption is controlled. It’s going to be more of a tasting environment.”
Steve Warren, an employee of Off the Chain Bus Bike Tours, says the job requires a high level of energy and a watchful eye.
He says, while he enjoys doing bike tours, the worst part of the job is having to stop the group from pedaling to ask an individual to follow the rules. Some of these rules include keeping hands and feet in the vehicle at all times and not throwing trash overboard.
For now, entertainment on Off the Chain is limited to playing games or karaoke in between stops while patrons pedal. The company is considering how they’ll include catching a buzz in-transit leading up to the Jan. 1 inception of the bill.
“We are going to have to monitor it,” Warren said. “Just like a bar, if somebody is getting a little rambunctious or keeps asking for more, we’ll make sure nobody gets too out of line. It’s a group entertainment thing and we want to make sure everyone is having a good time. And nobody likes the overly obliterated person.”
While patron safety is a concern for all business owners, Sebastian says the people who ride on his bike bus come with a variety of intentions. He has set up tours ranging from a 14-year-old’s birthday party to a wine tasting trip for seniors in their 90s.
One group celebrating a birthday took a progressive dinner tour. This particular tour makes three stops focused around dining. The group started at Lucca Restaurant and Bar in Sacramento and ended at a high-end gelato spot.
Jeffrey Howard, one of the patrons on the dinner tour, expressed his excitement for burning calories in between stops.
Howard says he supports the governor’s decision to sign the bill allowing these types of businesses to provide alcohol to riders in-transit. He will keep coming back if booze is allowed on-board.
Sacramento city officials have yet to make a decision on the law.
“We didn’t put a year of effort into this to finally get approved, to turn around and have our own starting point say ‘no,’” Sebastian says. “ But I think we’re OK as long as we have some stringent rules.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT OFF THE CHAIN’S BUS BIKE:
- Began operating on Dec. 4, 2014
- Vehicle cost over $100,000 to construct.
- “Shook me all night long” by AC/DC is the most popular karaoke song
- Top speed is 5 mph
- Features electric assist