(Photos © Elly Blue)
I just witnessed the unveiling of something truly in the Portland spirit: A locally built cargo bike that holds two kegs below an inlaid wood bar. A rear rack is built to hold a stack of pizzas; below that a wood-paneled pannier is in fact a compact sound system.
It’s made in Portland. And it’s beautiful.
Described as a “pub bike,” or a “mobile party,” this human powered machine was built by local box bike builder Metrofiets specially for Hopworks Urban Brewing (HUB) and will make its first public appearance at the company’s free Biketobeerfest celebration this Saturday.
The bike follows the basic Metrofiets design of a long body, with a cargo carried in the front. The cargo container is a metal keg bucket which holds two full sized kegs and 25 pounds of ice. Beer from the kegs run through a 50 foot cooling coil and then to your glass via two taps (made by Shimano and Chris King) which protrude from a wooden bar inlaid with HUB’s trademark lightning bolt.
A large, square rear rack is designed to fit a stack of pizza boxes. Below the rack is a sound system “pannier” with another lightning bolt inlaid wood panel casing and a speaker. The bike sports HUB’s colors, matte orange and black.
This party is entirely human-powered, with the help of nine gears — any more would allow a rider to go faster than would be entirely wise, explained Ross. Sturdy looking disc brakes and chunky tires with full fenders adorn both wheels.
When fully loaded with pizza, beer, and ice, the bike should just about meet Metrofiets’ 400lb weight limit. Still, Ross is recommending that the bike be transported with pony kegs, and refilled with full-sized kegs on the scene.
The bike was conceived over the course of casual conversations this summer between Hopworks founder Christian Ettinger and Metrofiets owners Phillip Ross and Jamie Nichols. The idea quickly escalated; then the friends began paring it down to a buildable concept and began lining up support.
The bike is a group effort. Ross and Nichols designed and built the bike. Damon Eckhoff inspired the sound system and did much of the wiring. Metropolis Cycles (2249 N Williams) built the wheels and provided general bike shop support. Michael Moscarelli of local brewing supply company F.H. Steinbarts did the beer plumbing; local high school biology teacher, homebrewer, and woodworker Gregg Heppner created the bar top and sound system shell. The bike’s components (including the tap handles) were donated by Chris King Components and Shimano.
Ettinger still has big plans for the bike’s future. A second sound pannier will allow music to be played in stereo; a solar panel cover for the pizza rack will power the sound system and a string of LED lights around the base of the bar, making the bike fully self-sufficient.
As if the bike isn’t enough, Ettinger plans to unveil his new, seasonal Bike Beer this weekend. The first season’s offering is an organic Pacific Northwest style IPA. It comes in bottles branded with a bike chain motif and the words “Ride your bike,” and features a Portland bike fun event calendar on the back.
The beer was brewed specially for the upcoming Oregon Manifest, and will be the event’s exclusive beer. Its broader intent is to promote Portland’s unique bike culture. “We’re seeking a cross-pollination between the bike and beer cultures,” Ettinger explained.
You can expect to see this season’s Bike Beer at various stores around town in the next month. And keep your eyes peeled for a party on wheels — HUB expects to be bringing its new steed to various bike events year round.
Here’s a photo slideshow of the bike and its happy creators:
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com