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Bikes & Beer...A Sober Story!

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Youíre having a brisk heart-pounding ride through the woods hitting some of your favorite trail features.  You push yourself through rock gardens, navigate twisting singletrack and feel a natural high that is achieved when you are on your mountain bike!  At the end of your ride you crack open a smooth, cool tasty beverage called BEER!  Ah yes, the ride is now complete!


This caption may not apply to all us mountain bikers, but for many New England riders, a cold frosty beer is the choice of beverage to finish off a great bike ride.  Many people question this beverage choice and ask "why would you drink a beer after working out?"  First, most of us would not consider riding our bikes a "work out", but the answer to this question can be rather simple...mountain biker's love BEER!  If you sit back and think openly about it, you may realize that mountain biking and beer go together.  This article will have a number of opinions and theories stated by the writer with no scientific background to support it.  But these opinions and theories may be fun to contemplate over a cold tasty BEER!


Different Flavors - Different Riding - Different Characters


Mountain biking and beer have a ton of similarities that can (this is a long shot) interpret one's character.  For example, most people who see a mountain biker with an 8" travel bike wearing body armor will likely think they are an extreme downhiller and sick in the head.  Subsequently, if you see someone drinking a pint of Guinness, again think they are sick in the head because they love motor oil.  These are stereotypes with no real meaning but can lead one to have a pretty funny conversation over a couple drinks.  Beer has a number of different flavors just as individual mountain bikers have different riding styles.  I can personally relate to the difference in my own riding as to which type of beer I prefer to drink after a ride.  Typically when I am out in the woods, I try to ride with flow and finesse, but this is usually not the case and by the end of the ride, my body is beaten and bruised.  Due to the lack of my riding skills, I prefer to end a ruthless ride with a beer that is smooth with little bitterness.  But on those days that I am in the zone and ripping the trail with minimal effort, I choose a more flavorful dark brew.


Now, what I consider "a little bitter" or a "fuller darker brew"  will be different from the next person, but the point is beer selection is somewhat a personal celebration for that just completed ride.  Aroma, appearance, taste and aftertaste are all important factors in beer that determine how satisfying it will make you feel.  Where as mental state, bicycle condition, rider's adrenaline and hitting that first technical challenge all will determine how satisfying your ride will turn out.  We all had that moment where we were pumped to ride our bike.  10 minutes into the ride, we hit our first technical challenge that crushes our sprit and changed our riding mood.  Whether your ride was good or bad, the end result may determine what kind of beer you prefer for that post-ride beverage.


Seasonal Riding & Seasonal Beer


Seasonal changes in New England signify the forthcoming of various mountain bike activities throughout the year.  Many local mountain bikers' ski and/or snowboard during the winter months trying to enjoy our icy snowy mix.  Others may toss in an escape to a local indoor BMX track keeping up on their riding skills and even fewer brave the cold days riding year round.  In either case, we sit back looking forward to the spring thaw and getting back to the trails on a regular basis.  Spring rolls around and we see a number of bike related events for the community to participate in.  We begin to work out the bugs in our riding, getting those legs pumping, making sure the bike is working and maybe even get ourselves a new toy for the riding season.  Summer kicks in with blistering heat and we find ourselves going on weekend riding trips, hitting many non local riding spots and looking for that technical challenge we plan on accomplishing before season's end.  Fall comes quick and we enjoy perfect weather riding conditions and absorb the beauty of natures changing colors.  Sadly the winter blanket covers our trails and we start this wonderful process over again!


During our yearly mountain bike escapades many of us look forward to the seasonal taste of our favorite brews.  Local breweries such as Samuel Adams have a number of seasonal brews that ring in the changing season.  Winter Larger, White Ale, Summer Ale and Octoberfest all familiar names with distinctive taste that come and go annually.  Several of the Dieselbikes crew host a Tuesday night ride that ends with a visit to the local bar.  Riding through the woods for a few hours and then call "beer-thirty" puts a smile on many faces as we dash or race to the bar finishing off the ride.  If you think about it, these brewing companies have seasonal beers down path.  Brewing combinations of aroma, appearance, taste and aftertaste are matched to the season.  I personally would not like to drink an Octoberfest in the middle of summer.  The bitterness, caramel or cinnamon flavor, what even formula they use just does not sit well with me during the hot summer months.  But this same beer will be perfect when the evening temperature drops into the mid 50s, that Octoberfest goes down smooth. Is this a marketing ploy by the beer industry, a mental state of mind...who knows...it just taste good!


Does Riding & Drinking Go Hand In Hand?


Well, not all mountain bikers drink alcohol beverages, but there are a few riders who have girly drinks with those little umbrellas.  In either case, mountain biking and drinking beer are indeed social activities.  I am not going to quote philological and social behavior studies to justify my statement; you can do that on your own time.  But ask your self this question..."How many mountain bike events have you attended that did not have BEER?"  The answer to that question is probably ZERO...unless you go to a Dieselbikes events held in Lynn Woods.  We would have TONS of beer if we could obtain an alcohol permit.  Many of us hit the trail with our friends or take a day trip to lift service destination for our daily dose of abuse.  During these excursions a common item is trekked along for the trip...and itís not the bicycle! It is beer!  Relaxing after a 3 hour trail ride at Bruce & Tom's, hammering down Highland Mountain, or crawling your way back home after you broke your bike, cracking open a cold beer automatically makes you feel better.  I can only speak of my own experiences, but when members of Dieselbikes go out to ride, 9 out of 10 times, beer is on hand.  If no one brought any beer, we may hit a local pub and toss back a few drinks.  I am positive this is not just the case with our club, but believe many riders do the same.


This all boils down to us socializing as a community.  Mountain biking and beer do go hand in hand.  We socialize during our rides, egging each other on as we try cleaning a technical challenge.  Regardless you cleaned it or crapped out on it, you gave it a try and your riding buddies respect you for this.  When the ride is over, we socialize even more with jokes, bike tech, and even personal matters as topics of discussion over that cold refreshing beer.  As a riding community, I rarely see mountain bikers socializing over a glass of cold soda...itís always beer and this is a good thing!  We ride to have fun and lose weight...we drink to celebrate and gain weight...then we ride again to lose it!  It's a vicious cycle that has some sort of perpetual motion difficult to stop.  But in reality, who cares...we are all happy and enjoying life!


Is beer more important then water?


The logical answer to this questions is no, but if I could carry beer on my bike ride rather then water, I probably would.  There is "something" about beer that makes it the preferred choice over other cold beverages; and what this "something" might be is the changing taste from drink to drink.  We all know water tastes the same.  Regardless how much you drink, it will always leave the same blank taste.  You can go with flavored water, but I find many to be super sweet and after one or two bottles, it just does not taste refreshing.  With beer, you can have a few drinks of different styles or even the same brand and every glass will taste a little different then the first. Think about the last time you had your favor beer after riding and said to your buddy..."that is refreshing!"  On the other hand, I am sure you also had a glass of this same brew and said..."it taste ok."  The difference between these two distinction many be result of our prior ride.  It could be quite possible if you personally had a great bike ride, any beer will taste refreshing as if it's a reward.  You really do not get a similar effect drinking water, soda and even coffee...at least that's my opinion.  Regardless how much we like beer, water or water-based drinks will still rule as the beverage choice during the bike ride...although, beer is made with water?  I just may need to research this more!


In conclusion, the majority of mountain bikers love beer.  You need no scientific study to conclude this fact.  Just look around during bike rides, events and other social gatherings.  Beer can be a successful reward or drown your sorrows for a piss poor ride; either case you feel better!  With that said, go call your friends, go out for a ride and then celebrate with your favorite beverage...BEER!


By: Diesel

Date Posted: 10/01/2008

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