Last Saturday, April 27, 2019, I completed my second Bikes and Beers supported bike ride in the beautiful rolling hills of Frederick, Maryland (actually, the ride itself is pretty flat).
I like these organized group rides because the organizers do a good job of getting enthusiastic cyclists out on the road while also encouraging proper cycling etiquette. People from all walks of life come to these rides, from the kitted-up cyclist with a $10,000 bike, to someone like me, to a brand new cyclist who is looking to get out on the roads more, but is hesitant to do it alone. Bikes and Beers really encourages a casual, fun atmosphere, so you won’t feel out of place if you haven’t biked much before.
I was looking for something fun to do outside on a beautiful, albeit windy, day, and saw that this event was happening. Al and I signed up a few days prior to the ride via the Bikes and Beers website.
There were three ride-length options for all rider levels: 17 miles, 30 miles, and 41 miles. I chose the 41 mile route, knowing that just a few weeks ago I did a 37 mile ride and felt okay about it. Having grown up in Frederick County, I also knew that this ride had some scenic sections that I’d like to see.
The winds were vicious. Several times I felt my bike tires go askew as I held on for dear life and steered to recover. Despite the struggle, I never fell. It was probably the windiest ride I’ve ever done. My ride started at 9 a.m. and took about three hours with two short breaks. Ride organizers had a rest stop set up about halfway through the course with snacks, water, and port-a-johns, and we hit the stop twice. Car traffic for the most part was light, with some exceptions along New Design Road and Buckeystown Pike.
Perhaps the best part was the food and beer, raffle prizes, and swag at the end of the ride. There were giveaways from High Brew Coffee and Hippeas. Riders got two drink coupons, a pint glass, a raffle ticket, and a beer koozie with the event logo. The Frederick event had an awesome band, whose name I missed. I even got to try out some dance moves. I couldn’t understand why no one else was dancing. Maybe they were too tired.
Bikes and Beers is an organization aiming to improve bike infrastructure “one city at a time” by uniting cyclists through beer. Not a bad idea, when you think about it. In 2019, they have over 21 rides planned across the U.S. sponsored by local breweries with a portion of the proceeds going to a local charities and the World Bicycle Relief. Saturday’s ride in Frederick benefited Bike Marylandand was sponsored by Flying Dog.
I really enjoy the Bikes and Beers rides and am considering signing up for another one in 2019. Bikes and Beers gives cyclists a good excuse to see someplace new, support bike-friendly initiatives, and taste delicious local brews. Oh, and exercise. You will definitely burn some calories in the process.
I can’t think of any better reasons than those!