Belfast Telegraph

Belfast beer bike: Pedal-powered bar on wheels offers different kind of booze cruise for sightseers

By Linda Stewart

It might look a little like a cross between a bicycle and a centipede - but this quirky vehicle is the latest tourist attraction to launch in Belfast.

The contraption has been launched by Wee Toast Tours and offers both visitors and locals the chance to see Belfast city centre from a fresh perspective - from a pedal-powered bar stool. The pedal-driven mini-pubs are already a common sight in many major European cities, but Belfast's first one is already causing a bit of a stir. The contraption was initially seen around Belfast on Culture Night last year and has been turning heads around the city centre ever since.

It has taken husband and wife team Ron and Jennifer Kenna more than two years and an investment of £30,000 to develop and get the cycle onto the streets of Belfast.

Now the company has plans for future expansion both in Belfast and across Ireland in the next two years. Mr Kenna said: "The combination of our love for cycling and our knowledge of the popularity of these European-manufactured bikes in America, Germany and the Netherlands, motivated us to purchase our own bike and bring this unique business concept to Belfast."

In addition to an on-board barrel and tap, Wee Toast Tours' massive 860kg 15-person pedal bike, built in the Netherlands, features stationary seats for each passenger as well as a set of foot pedals for each member of the party to contribute to the bike's motion. But the concept will not launch a crowd of tipsy cyclists onto the Belfast streets - steering is the responsibility of designated driver Ron, who also has control of the hydraulic brake.

The bike has already become a common sight at the Christmas markets at Belfast City Hall.

It generally sets off from Blackstaff Square at the back of the Crown Bar, cruising round the City Hall to take in the sights at a rate of around 7mph. It even plays music and patrons can plug in their own MP3 player to listen to their own tunes.

It does raise issues around drinking in public, according to GP and councillor Dr John Kyle, but he said it looked like an entertaining option for tourists.

"I saw this in Minneapolis a couple of years ago and it looks fun. The driver needs to be abstinent - there's a possible issue of drinking in public which is discouraged in some neighbourhoods," he said.

"Pedalling is healthy but is balanced out by alcohol calories. Excessive consumption needs to be discouraged but this does look like a fun option for tourists.

"I would have had concerns if the driver was drinking."

Mr Kenna said that following last year's Giro and the growing love of cycling in Northern Ireland, the couple are encouraged by the popularity of Wee Toast Tours so early on.

"We have also received tremendous support from the cycling community, local businesses and the PSNI and are looking forward to expanding our offering throughout Northern Ireland and into the Republic of Ireland in the next 24 months," he said.

For further information visit www.weetoasttours.com or follow Wee Toast Tours on Facebook and Twitter

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