Pedal Pub ambushed by "flash mob" downtown

How could you NOT want to mess with these people?
How could you NOT want to mess with these people?

Before Pedal Pub season came to a close, Scott Ranney and his wife decided they ought to give it a try. They rounded up five other couples and drove in from their Lakeville home for a night in the city.

Everything was going great on the gooney contraption until the group started to make its way to The Local. As they headed down Nicollet Mall, the pub rolled to a stop at a red light. Then it all went to hell.

"It happened so fast," recalls Ranney.

Even before they got to the light, Ranney says the bar-on-wheels ran into trouble near the light rail stop. He says a group of about seven or eight 10-year-olds jumped on the Pedal Pub and tried to grab their wallets.

"They were just being annoying and rude saying things like, 'Oh, we're so wasted,'" he says. "It was really disturbing."

After a while, the Pedal Pubbers managed to kick the kids off and continued to the intersection of 6th Street and Nicollet.

Sitting ducks.
Sitting ducks.

Almost the instant they stopped at a red light, a crowd of "25 to 40 young African Americans"  suddenly materialized and surrounded the pub, as Ranney told police later. The teenagers jumped up on the bar, shaking the whole contraption and screaming indecipherably. Ranney says a couple of the kids tried to grab purses from an overhead storage compartment, but that as they retreated, they dropped everything except his wife's BlackBerry. The ambush lasted only a few seconds and Ranney says no one was harmed.

"Had they wanted to do something we would have been, you know, helpless," he says.

Ranney says he watched as they gave a bus similar treatment, rocking it back and forth. The pedal pubbers regrouped and continued on their way.

"We still had a very fun time," says Ranney.

He says the incident reminded him of similar "flash mob" incidents he'd read about in the news, but at this point there's no evidence that the incident was an organized attack.

"This type of stuff makes you not want to come into the city and spend our money," he says. "You shouldn't have to deal with this -- not right on Nicollet Mall."

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