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In Character with Andrea Lins

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Eight BrewCycle pedalers, with Andrea Lins steering, ferry around the Pearl District from brewpub to brewpub. Not a bad way to make a living.Smart woman, that Andrea Lins. She gets paid to watch 10 people pedal her around the Pearl District from brewpub to brewpub. Lins, 25, and Charlie Riegelman are co-owners of BrewCycle Portland, which offers three-pub-a-night tours on a clever bike contraption that has 10 people facing each other and pedaling all at once.

Portland Tribune: Where in the world did you get the idea for people collectively biking from pub to pub?

Andrea Lins: I saw it in Milwaukee, Wis. It’s called the Pedal Tavern there. I was working a cubicle job and I met my current boyfriend and he didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. He wanted to move ... it was just a matter of picking the right city. I cross-referenced most bike friendly city with best microbrews. (Portland) was a natural.

Tribune: What was your first weekend like?

Lins: It was the weekend after the naked bike ride. I was really heartbroken that (the bike) didn’t come sooner. I wanted to do it for naked bike night. That would have been the best opening weekend ever.

Tribune: You would have had 15 naked riders on one bike?

Lins: It would have been the bravest riders of them all because we would have been going four or five miles per hour.

Tribune: A favorite rider?

Lins: I was sitting in front of Sisters Coffee when a young lady came up and asked me what the heck this thing was. I gave her my usual spiel and she said she was just in town for the night, there for a wedding on her own. She asked if I had any extra seats on a ride. So I said I have one seat open on the next ride.

She met us at Lucky Lab and jumped on board with three separate groups and enjoyed the ride. We ended up sitting at Lucky Lab an extra hour chatting, after the ride was done. And they all ended up leaving together, three separate groups celebrating two birthdays and the lone ranger.

Three weeks later I get an email from her telling me how much she enjoyed herself and that she had started dating one of the guys that was part of one of the birthday groups. Mind you, she’s from San Diego. A couple weeks later I run into him and he’s telling me how he’s going down to San Diego the next week. He wanted to buy me a drink and a shot for introducing him to the love of his life.

Tribune: So you’ve fomented romance on a bicycle built for 15?

Lins: They’re moving in together. He’s moving down to San Diego. I’m expecting their proposal, their engagement party and their wedding on the bike. I would get the certificate to marry them if they let me.

Tribune: Disaster rides?

Lins: I had a group of young adults on board that wanted to do more dive bars than our normal breweries. I took them to Joe’s Cellar on 21st. They came back out a little rowdier, but we were headed down to Slabtown. Half the group went in and there were a few stragglers huddled in the back of the bike. I’m sitting in my captain’s chair, the usual sendoff, “Have fun. Be back in 25 minutes,” when I see Charlie, who had been following on his own bike, fly around and start cursing at the people sitting on the back of the bike, yelling at them to get off and to stop.

They started saying to Charlie, “But it’s not coke, man.” I turn around and I see these lines of white powder on the back of my bike. They kept saying “It’s not coke, we got it at Joes’ Cellar in the bathroom.” I kept yelling, “That doesn’t sound any better.”

One of them came back out and said it was pecker picker upper, basically talcum powder that they bought in one of those machines in Joe’s bathroom. The beauty of it was, they were medical students, four years older than me. They were trying to snort it.

Tribune: Big plans for the BrewCycle?

Lins: Speed dating on the bike. I would do seven girls and seven guys across from each other, everyone having to change seats from stop to stop.

Tribune: At the end of the night people must be pedaling much slower than at the beginning.

Lins: No. The more people drink the more engaged they seem to get on the bike. We find it gets messy after four. People shouldn’t be pedaling after four stops.