I haven’t been stared at by this many people in London since I wandered around wearing a Vivienne Westwood skirt shaped like a lampshade – but, pedalling around on the party bike that is the Soho Beer Bike Tour in London gets everyone’s attention – I’m in photos, I’m in videos, I’m waving at taxi drivers making pedal motions with their hands – and I’m having a blast!
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For those who aren’t sure what a beer bike is – imagine if your favourite Oktoberfest beerkeller moved.
The layout is simple. Six seats line each side of the ‘bike’ – some of which have pedals attached. In front of you is a shelf with a handy cup sized hole, and in the middle are a series of bar taps attached to a keg.
Your driver sits at the front – they’re in charge of braking and steering, and your bar person is positioned at the back (or in the middle if they’re serving or it’s a full bike.)
Then with a shout of ‘pedal, pedal, pedal’, the Prosecco gets poured, the tunes go on and you’re off into the Soho traffic.
For the next hour (or two), this pub on wheels is powered by you as you pedal a short circuit around London’s Soho that takes in the sights of Soho, Regent Street and Oxford Street.
The word ‘tour’ is a bit of a misnomer as there’s no information about the sites you’re pedalling past – but, you won’t care, as you’ll be too busy giggling, whooping or singing along to the tunes on the bike.
And who wants to listen to a history of Soho when you’ve got Dancing Queen to belt out?
I was on the pedal pub solo as my original booking with Mr Differentville had to be changed, but I still had a blast – and it was definitely one of the most fun things I did on my London trip (and considering I also drank cocktails out of the snout of a unicorn, that’s saying something), and if you’re in London for a birthday party, hen do, stag do – or just want something fun to pass a few hours I’d absolutely recommend it.
If you’re already sold, then you can make a booking for the WeeToast party bike that I went on by clicking here.
But, if you still have some more questions about what riding the Soho Beer Bike might involve, let’s try and answer them all…
- Do You Have to Drink Beer?
- Can You Take Your Own Drinks?
- How Hard is This Pedalling Lark?
- Do You Have to Pedal?
- Book at the Weekend if You Can
- Would it Make a Good Hen Do/Stag Do Activity?
- We’re Just a Couple. Is It Right For Us?
- How Safe is The Bike?
- What Should I Wear?
- What About Bags?
- What Music Do They Play?
- Do They Serve Food?
- Can Kids Go on The Bike?
- Should I Take the One Hour or Two Hour Tour?
- Do You Have to Book the London Beer Bikes in Advance?
Do You Have to Drink Beer?
It’s called a beer bike, but the taps don’t have to serve beer.
On our ride they were actually hooked up to serve liberal measures of Prosecco and gin and tonic. You can also get an Aperol Spritz keg or a Pornstar Martini keg. Beer on my trip was served from cans from cool boxes. They also have soft drinks if you need them.
Your first drink is free, if you want another one, then you can pay for a top up. At the time I went it costs £6 for an extra glass (and the measures are pretty good). You pay by card as you go.
If there’s a lot of you and you desperately need to guarantee you have Aperol, Prosecco or beer on tap to make it perfect, then, I’d mention it when you book as then I’m guessing the team can make sure your bike is stocked accordingly – and you can rename it the Soho Prosecco Bike Tour!
Can You Take Your Own Drinks?
Yes. If you don’t want to buy booze on the bike itself, then you can turn up with your own alcohol.
If you want to make sure it’s cold, there’s a One Stop convenience store that sells beer and wine on the corner of Brewer and Lower John Street less than a 5 minute walk away.
How Hard is This Pedalling Lark?
You will get a bit warm!
I started off with my cardigan on, but had to lose that somewhere around Wardour Street as I was getting a bit hot.
It’s definitely not the Tour de France though.
Because London traffic is pretty stop/start at the best of times it’s not like you’re pedalling constantly so there’s plenty of time to stop and rest your legs or catch your breath.
I’m battling a leg injury that means I’m in pain much of the time – and got on the bike not sure what the heck was going to happen once we started moving, yet, I managed to hold my own with the pedalling.
There’s also a short stop built into the tour to recharge any batteries and beer.
Do You Have to Pedal?
The party bikes seat 15 and they need eight pedal seats filled to make the bike move, but there are a number of non-pedal seats on the bike – so, if you’re really not able to pedal, you can still join in the fun – so long as there’s enough other people on your tour to keep the thing moving… which brings us to an important point.
Book at the Weekend if You Can
The beer bikes are bookable all day, every day, but, if there’s only a couple of you, and the bike isn’t full then the team might have to reschedule your experience.
That’s what happened to us originally.
We booked a tour at 4pm on the Thursday, but there weren’t enough other pedallers to keep things moving and so we got rescheduled to the Friday afternoon.
We couldn’t do that and so, the team offered us a Saturday slot – but this meant I had to go solo as Mr Differentville couldn’t make it.
If you can’t be quite so flexible, or, want to give yourself the maximum chance of your tour going when you’ve booked it, then book over a weekend as that’s when they are more likely to have the numbers.
Obviously, if you’re a stag do, hen do or big birthday party and have enough pedallers in your own party this won’t be an issue.
Would it Make a Good Hen Do/Stag Do Activity?
Do your bride-to-be or groom-to-be like singing and drinking? Then yes, absolutely.
The day I was there I saw four bikes go out and three of them had Hen Parties on them.
The good thing about booking the bike as a big group is that you’re likely to have enough pedallers to ensure your tour takes place at the time you’ve booked it.
And you’re right in the middle of Soho so surrounded by bars, restaurants, and, erm strip joints, to continue your night of fun afterwards.
We’re Just a Couple. Is It Right For Us?
I went on it on my own and still had fun!!!
As a solo traveller I was a bit worried who I was going to end up with – and it turns out I ended up crashing a birthday party, but my bike mates could not have been friendlier (thanks ladies, if you read this).
Most big stag or hen parties will probably have booked their own bike, but smaller groups will mix with other people to ensure you have the numbers.
But let’s face it, this is not an activity you’re likely to book if you’re not up for a few laughs, so I’d say, if you do end up with a smaller group of hens, or a stag party, on your beer bike, then introduce yourself, make friends with any rubber companions they’ve brought along for the ride, and throw yourself into celebrating along with them!
How Safe is The Bike?
I am highly risk adverse and so, admit I was a bit nervous about whether I’d feel safe on the bike, but I once I got settled I really wasn’t worried.
I got there about 20 minutes before my tour was due to start and managed to snag one of the seats that adjusts for height which meant I could lower it (I also needed that for my leg or I’d have been in a right mess) which meant I felt super secure.
There aren’t any seat belts, but, you do feel balanced and the back rest offers you good support. You can also hold onto the shelf in front which I did while I was taking videos.
Most of the time the journey is super slow, the only time we jolted was if we hit a pothole, but even then, the biggest casualty was a cup of Prosecco which had just been topped up!
You are riding in the traffic, but, again, it’s not like anyone is speeding past you, even when you do get overtaken, you’re actually above most of the cars so everything feels safe (although they do warn you not to stick your arms and legs out or lean back too far just in case).
Compared to when I had to ride a Segway down the middle of a main road on a tour in Munich, which was frankly terrifying, this was nothing!
Also you’re not steering or in control of the breaks, that’s the job of your driver. You just have to pedal, pedal, pedal to keep the thing moving.
What Should I Wear?
I’d suggest a full lycra cycling outfit!
No, seriously, you don’t need anything specific, I was going out in Soho that evening so had on a knee-length dress and plimsols and that was fine.
Personally, ladies (or grooms-to-be in drag!) I wouldn’t wear too short or tight a dress, as you might find yourself flashing Soho (but, hey, it’s Soho, no-one cares) but there were plenty of the Hen Do ladies in bodycon dresses who managed to get on their seats okay.
You might want to avoid heels and pack some flats though – also, the bike pedals do sometimes jolt, so, just watch out if you have loose slip-ons as you might lose one!
What About Bags?
The beer bike starts in Glasshouse Street, steps away from Regent Street and Oxford Street so I get there may have been some shopping during your trip, however, it’s best not to turn up carrying six bags and the entire contents of Primark, but if you do have smaller bags, they can be stashed on the shelves above your head.
If things do fall off the bike, it’s easy for it to stop and retrieve them – or, we had a pair of headphones that had gone awol handed back by a passer-by who chased the bike down – see I told you this thing didn’t exactly move at a rate of knots.
What Music Do They Play?
We literally had a bit of everything. Abba, Jay-Z, Oasis, The Killers, Soft Cell, Amy Winehouse and Beyonce all made an appearance – I was pretty impressed that in one hour they managed to fit in three of my favourite ever songs!
If you’ve got the bike to yourself, then you could probably choose your own tunes. Otherwise, think ‘songs you’d play at a wedding reception to get everyone singing and dancing’ and you get the gist of what’s going to be played.
Do They Serve Food?
No, but you can bring on snacks if you want them. The girls on my tour had Nandos along for the ride. Although, it might be a bit tricky to eat anything too fiddly and pedal at the same time.
Can Kids Go on The Bike?
All under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and they can’t have any alcohol.
However, this is probably not the best choice for smaller kids. They won’t be able to reach the pedals for one thing.
I would say, maybe, it would be fun for older teenagers – but do appreciate there is alcohol and possibly over-excited people, and that’s part of the fun, it’s not a sightseeing bike tour!
Should I Take the One Hour or Two Hour Tour?
As a solo traveller the one hour tour was fine, but if it had been me, and a group of mates, wanting to sing and dance along the route, I’d also consider the two-hour one as it is really good fun.
So, there you have it – my review of riding around on a beer bike in Soho. I’d absolutely do it again with a group of friends.
Do You Have to Book the London Beer Bikes in Advance?
Yes. We had people trying to pay to join as they saw it, but all bookings must be made in advance to balance the bikes, and also so you can sign the waivers.
The one I went on is run by WeeToast and you’ll find a link to book it here.
So, there you have it – our review and Q&As about the Soho Beer Bike tour – if we have missed anything you want to know though drop us as line in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer.