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Bike-powered pub crawl sues city for permit

Updated: July 19, 2011 2:08AM

The owners of PedalPub Chicago — whose 16-seat, human-powered cycles are geared to ferry the merry from pub to pub — are fighting the city’s decision to deny them a business permit.

On Monday, PedalPub filed a petition in Cook County Circuit Court to overturn the decision.

At issue? The vehicles themselves.

The company is calling itself a bicycle rental outlet for groups. But the city sees it as a sightseeing venture whose vehicles, if operating in the public way, must be powered by a motor, according to city code.

“In order for your business to provide charter/sightseeing tours on the public way, you must utilize a licensed public passenger vehicle,” wrote Joy Adelizzi, a deputy commissioner in the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection office. She continues in her May 4 letter to the company: “By definition a public passenger vehicle must be propelled by a motor.”

PedalPub owner Al Boyce says he never sought a business license to operate tours — just a limited business license.

“We’re not giving sightseeing tours, we’re saying rent us and drive our 16-person ‘bicycle’ around town,” Boyce told the Sun-Times. The lawsuit calls the city’s decision “legally erroneous.”

The city Law Department couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

PedalPub has operations in 13 cities across the country.

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