Sunday, November 9, 2014

Columbus & Cincinnati Pedal Wagon

Photos by OHventures


That's the slogan me and my rowdy crew of Ohio State Buckeyes fans lived by while riding in the Columbus Pedal Wagon one brisk morning before the football game!

The Columbus Pedal Wagon (and similarly, the Cincinnati Pedal Wagon), is a contraption that requires you and a group of able-bodied buddies to hop on board and use your man-power to wheel the wagon from bar to bar to bar! 

It's essentially a bar on wheels - except state laws don't allow you to drink while ON the pedal wagon - YET. So, that means, for now, the cupholders are merely spots to put your phones while you ride!

The Columbus Pedal Wagon offers various routes which you can sign up for that will allow you to navigate the vehicle to various drinking establishments within different neighborhoods. The tours last approximately 2 hours, and you usually get to visit about 3-4 different bars in that timeframe, depending on how long you stay at each one, and how far apart they are.

Themes are prescheduled to correspond with particular launch times, but if you love a route and not its scheduled time, the Columbus Pedal Wagon will make it work for you. Just be sure to give them an advanced notice so they can plan around the changes. What's cool is that they are also always open to new themes and routes, and will work with you to choose which bars you go to along the route that you have chosen.

On October 18, me and selected family (my mom, dad, and aunt) and friends (Alex, James, Alyce, and Steve) boarded the Columbus Pedal Wagon for the High Street Shuffle theme route. This route cruises through the Short North neighborhood of Columbus, stopping at 4 eclectic bars. Each spot had drink specials specifically for us pedalers. We wore a special wristband to designate to our bartenders that we were with the Pedal Wagon to get our discounts on drinks!

We were told by our driver, Paul, to meet at BBR (a bar located on Vine Street near the North Market) at 12:00 for our 12:30-2:30 PM scheduled ride. Being the rowdy group that we are, we decided to meet up at 11:00 AM so we could take advantage of the $3 draughts that we received on special for being a part of the Pedal Wagon. We also decided as a group that we needed some shots of FIREBALL whiskey to warm us up. Even though we would be bundled up, wearing a liquor coat never hurts!

When Paul arrived, he and I discussed our route. As mentioned, the tour guides work with you to determine what bars you would like to go to. I wanted to have a mix of modern bars and dive bars, so we decided on the following stops:

  • BBR (106 Vine Street, Columbus, OH 43215) - Our meeting place, this is a sports  bar that is typically loud with a young crowd and a rock & roll theme).

At the Short North Pint House
  • Pint House (780 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43201) - My favorite bar in the Short North. It is modern with eclectic decor, a beer garden pation, a HUGE bar, loads of beers on tap, a photo booth, a mixed crowd, an open ceiling, and an overall slick feel. There is even a part of the bar that is made of ice so you can keep you drink cool.
Drinks at Bodega
  • Bodega (1044 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43201) - A "hipster" hangout, Bodega has been recently renovated and is known for its endless array of draught beers, to-die-for grilled cheese, and a charming crowd of cool kids.
  • Mike's Grill (724 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43215) - The definition of a dive bar: smelly, dirty, sticky, and cheap! But that's all part of the experience. I love bringing people here just because it's such a hole in the wall. We came for $1 Jell-O shots and cans of PBR!
Hanging out at our last stop, Novak's!
  • Novak's Tavern (475 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43214) - Our final destination. Novak's has also been recently renovated and has pool tables, an awesome rooftop with a view of the Columbus skyline, and great specials on mixed drinks.
We were told to assign someone on board to be the "DJ" for the day. We picked Alyce (an easy choice because of her high energy personality). As DJ, she was able to plug her iPhone into the AV jack located on the wagon, and create our playlist for the entire ride! She was blaring party jams up and down High Street. It was really cool how they let us set the tone with the music, which really did make it even more fun!

A view of Short North on board the Pedal Wagon.

Over all, pedaling the wagon was not too difficult. Because we had so many people, it did not require us to exert too much energy (some of us had some sore legs the next day, though!). However, it did require that we work together and get in sync to get us to where we wanted to go in a quick fashion! All of the steering was done by our tour guide (Paul), who also advised us as to when to stop and start pedaling when we got to red lights, turns, etc. We didn't have to do any of the thinking - just the drinking!

Me & Steve on our new favorite ride!

There were many onlookers in cars and on foot who were amused at the sight of us pedaling by. It was certainly a unique and one-of-a-kind way to enjoy some drinks (and not to mention a TON of laughs) with friends & family on game day, or ANY day in Columbus or Cincinnati. We felt good that not only were we not drinking and driving, we were also getting a bit of exercise in between drinks!

And just because we are getting into the winter months does not mean that the pedal wagon goes into hibernation. You can book a ride on the Polar Bear Express NOW throughout winter!

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