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BrewCycle Portland - A unique pubcrawl in the City of Roses

Our transportation, "Shirley"
Our transportation, "Shirley"
Carole B. Rosenblat

I recently spent a couple of days in Portland, Oregon participating in some, oh so very Portland activities. Portland is known for its biking community, its microbrews and its weirdness. In fact, they’ve now joined in with Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado in the “Keep {insert city here} Weird” campaign. I found an activity which combines all of these. It’s called BrewCycle and is located in the heart of downtown Portland’s Pearl District. It’s a pub crawl on wheels; four wheels and fifteen seats to be exact. Oh, and as Portland is known for being oh so environmentally friendly, this vehicle is powered by the customers. Officially it’s a fifteen seat Quadracycle. Unofficially, it’s simply a unique and fun experience.

Andrea Lins is the owner of BrewCycle which she opened in 2011. While living in Colorado, not very inspired by her life at the time and, during a trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she saw one of these cool bikes heading down the street. She thought it might be a good idea to combine that with a pub crawl. After researching the most bike friendly cities along with the best beer scene, she realized Portland was the obvious choice. She began with a fifteen-person, copper Quadracycle named “Laverne.” Soon, the eleven person “Jimmy Goggins” joined Laverne cruising Portland’s streets. In 2013, the fifteen seat, hunter green, aluminum framed “Shirley” joined the fleet (where there’s a “Laverne” a “Shirley” is bound to follow)

There were eleven of us on this ride; a couple from Arizona celebrating their tenth anniversary, three coworkers from San Francisco who were in town for two days for a guys’ weekend, two locals and their two visiting friends, and myself and my friend Barb. We all met at the BrewStop Pub which conveniently doubles as BrewCycle’s office. It’s a great chance to get some food in your stomach before your ride to provide energy for your peddling and a soft place for your beer to land.

Just before 1:00, our Quadracylce, Shirley, pulled into the open area at the BrewStop Pub looking like a Hollywood star making her grand entrance on the red carpet. You can’t help but look. Ben, Andrea’s brother, was at the wheel steering her into place. We were called over and introduced to each other and to Shirley. We finished our beer - only water bottles are allowed on the bikes - and chose our seats. While most seats have pedals under them, there are a few non-pedaling seats. With only eleven people booked on this fifteen-seater, one person would sit in the non-pedaling seat.

After adjusting our seats for height, we were off and pedaling. I soon realized these bike seats were not made for comfort. They seemed to lean slightly forward and, with the pedals directly under the seats, the counter they’re facing is best used as support so as not to slide forward off the seat. Still, we weren’t holding on for long as, within ten minutes we arrived at our first stop, the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. We’d been given BrewCycle stickers which identified us to the pubs on our route in order to get us happy hour pricing. Barb and I began by ordering half-pints (as we had at the BrewStop) because we are no longer in our twenties and therefore, have consumed our share of beer in our lives and have learned our lessons. The beer options in this town are truly immense. As it was a beautifully sunny day, which is always appreciated in Portland, we stepped outside with our fellow riders to learn more about each other and enjoy a beer at the picnic tables.

After twenty minutes, Ben pulled up in Shirley to give us the five minute warning. Restrooms visited, we climbed aboard Shirley and headed for our next stop, the Lompoc Tavern. This was a smaller place with, once again, a large selection of beer. While we were tempted to again order half-pints, with the happy-hour pricing we received, pints were only $2.50 so it seemed a shame not to order a full one. Once again, after twenty minutes, Ben gave us the five minute warning. Restrooms, once again, visited (it’s a pub crawl after all), we hopped on board Shirley to head for the last stop, Bridgeport Brew Pub.
Being lightweights, Barb and I were beered out and headed to the coffee shop across the street. After twenty minutes and the perfect cappuccino (just trying to fit into the weirdness of Portland by drinking fancy coffee on a pub crawl), Ben waved at us from across the street to give us our five minute warning. Fully caffeinated, we energetically pedaled our way back to the BrewStop.

At only three miles traveled, this bike ride is by no means “Le Tour de France,” but BrewCycle is a uniquely Portland experience and a nice, relaxing way to spend two hours in the City of Roses.

Book your BrewCycle Portland pub crawl through their website http://brewcycleportland.com/ or call 971-400-5950

Just want to visit the BrewStop Pub? Their located at 1425 NW Flanders Street, Portland, OR 97209. Their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/brewstop

The website for the Lucky Labrador Brewing company is http://luckylab.com/

The website for the Lompoc Tavern is http://www.lompocbrewing.com/lompoc-tavern/

The website for Bridgeport Brew Pub is http://www.bridgeportbrew.com/