By The Rhein – The Wonderful Pedal Bar

Walking home along the Rhein, I’ve just been passed by a giant, pedal powered, mobile bar, mounted on a kind of large, roofed, trolly. About sixteen entirely soused Germans chaps were peddling along, stationed on stools around a large two sided bar, singing with enormous drunken gusto, slapping each other’s backs and drinking from tall glasses of beer.

At the front, peering from under the bar, a worriedly-sober looking elderly gentleman was steering, making a commendable effort towards keeping the whole show from crashing in to lamp-posts, or toppling in to the river. There was a bar on either side of the cart, and between these two tables and close to the back stood the barman. A cheerier, and certainly more relaxed looking fellow, he was refilling Steiners from barrels clamped down to the bar, trying to keep up with the evident thirst of the cycling revellers, and enthusiastically joining with their songs.

As they cycled and sang, the ensemble trembled, squeaked, wobbled, and weaved a little. I think my eyes went in to fish eye to take it all in, and with the drinker’s strange costumes and hats, and the bar’s cheerful bunting and striped awning to keep off the sun, I think I know what it’s like to be in Terry Gilliam’s mind now.

I was so completely enthralled. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo, or even wonder how the pedals made the wheels go around. I waved instead, and they waved back.


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