WHITE BEAR LAKE — The human-powered party bikes known as pedal pubs are a familiar sight on the streets of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. This summer, one local company will take that idea and add water, offering 90-minute booze cruises of White Bear Lake.
The PaddleTap, as it has been christened, is the brainchild of Ryan Jaeger, who launched the water-based bar in Lake Minnetonka four years ago. The idea behind it, he said, is simple: like many a Minnesotan, Jaeger enjoys spending summer days lakeside, preferably with an adult beverage (or two) in hand. When the inspiration for PaddleTap struck, that’s exactly where he was.
“A bunch of college friends and I were together on a lake, and we thought about starting up a movable bar on the water,” Jaeger said. “It basically all just evolved from there.”
With his vision of a floating bar in mind, Jaeger contacted a local pedal pub manufacturer for help in making his idea a reality. That manufacturer referred him to an Oregon-based company that was already making such contraptions. The model, Jaeger said, was “exactly what I had in mind.”
Jaeger now owns four such boats, which are essentially pontoons with two inward-facing rows of seats that fit up to 18 people. As riders sit and sip, they can also move their legs to operate the pedals beneath them, which propels the paddle in the back as a captain steers. The pedaling motion, Jaeger said, is minimal and nonstrenuous, but boats are always equipped with motors “just in case people get tired along the way.”
Since its inception four years ago, PaddleTap has been available for tours of Lake Minnetonka, but Jaeger and his business partner, Wells Brose, are expanding to White Bear Lake for their fifth season. Brose said the move is in response to repeated requests to move eastward.
“We always hear, ‘come to White Bear; come to White Bear,’ so we’re testing out the waters this summer,” Brose said. “We’re excited to be on the other side of the cities on another popular body of water.”
PaddleTap’s geographic expansion comes alongside other growth. Last year, Jaeger and Brose bought two other companies, Amsterdam Pedals and Hoppy Trolley, and combined them with PaddleTap to form UffDa Adventures. Jaeger said the acquisitions and new company will help streamline offerings and, hopefully, attract more clients.
“We can now do brewery tours by bus or by pedal pub, so if people come out and want to do that, we can make that happen,” he said.
But at least for now, the PaddleTap will be the only available option in White Bear Lake.
Tours last 90 minutes and cost $449 on Fridays and Saturdays and $399 on Sundays. Alcohol is not provided; PaddleTap-goers must bring their own beverages. For more information, including booking, visit uffdaadventures.com.