One of the most common aspects of student life is the pub crawl; going from one pub to the next and getting shamelessly drunk along the way. The most popular of these in Leeds is the Otley Run, which goes through 15 pubs, and is usually themed.
My personal favourite of all the themes I’ve seen was a Donald Trump theme, where a group of approximately 20 men staggered through the door of a bar in the student union, dressed in suits with cheap red ties and false blonde wigs. The news was being broadcast on a television behind the bar, and when the president appeared on the screen, the entire group started roaring and jumping up and down in their drunken state. However, much as I would like to join in with such an event, there is one small but significant problem; over half of the pubs have steps into them, and wheelchairs cannot levitate like Daleks.
In contrast to my predicament, I am not prepared to sit aside and be excluded from this. I decided to take action and designed my own pub crawl, the pub roll. Jarred and myself started in the students union, in the modern bar called the Terrace, before heading down to the basement to sit in the cosy and traditional Old Bar.
After a couple of drinks we headed out into the brisk Winter night, and wandered down to Dry Dock, a bar stylised to look like a boat beached on a mound of grass. Much to my surprise the bouncer held the door open for me, and did the same on the way, wishing me well as he did so.
I would like to think that although a tad tipsy, no one could tell, as I did not have to face the troubling task of balancing on two feet, and could rely on six wheels instead.
We crossed the main road and entered City Bar, which was in the union of the rival (and inferior) university, and then headed up to a branch of Wetherspoon’s called the Stick or Twist.
When we were done there, we meandered slowly down to another Wetherspoon’s. By the time we were done there, I was seeing three of everything, so instead of progressing onto the Botanist, an accessible bar and restaurant, as planned, we dragged ourselves home. Trying to drive my wheelchair in a straight line was something of a challenge, but the quiet streets posed no threat to unsuspecting pedestrians.
I was proud to have done something about the Otley Run situation, that being getting drunk in the name of social justice. It’s always good to know that with a little extra thought such issues can be overcome, and it is worthy of note that the shops, pubs, and other venues that make themselves accessible are the ones to receive my money.